Liverpool return to Premier League action with a meeting against Burnley on Saturday afternoon, aiming to bounce back to winning ways after a disappointing week in the Premier League and the Champions League.
The Reds’ campaign has derailed slightly following a heavy loss last time out in the league, but they boast an impressive record against the Clarets and will feel confident of getting back on track.
It had all been going so well for Jürgen Klopp and his men. Heading into the international break on a high after thrashing Arsenal 4-0 on home soil, as well as progressing through to the Champions League proper, there was real hope that this could finally be their season.
As is so often the case when it comes to Liverpool, though, they soon came crashing right back down to earth when on the end of a 5-0 loss at the hands of title challengers Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.
Klopp will argue that his side were hard done by due to the pivotal red card shown to key forward Sadio Mané, coming at a stage in the game when the Reds were already a goal down but looking well in the contest and perhaps worthy of a point.
The fallout from Mané’s dismissal is still being felt, as Liverpool saw their appeal against the length of the three-match suspension rejected by the Football Association earlier this week, meaning that he will sit out the meeting with Burnley, plus the league and EFL Cup double-header away to Leicester City.
Mané’s absence will no doubt be felt, though it does at least provide Klopp with the chance to bring Philippe Coutinho back into the fold, having so far been a little reluctant to use the Brazilian playmaker on his return to club duty.
Coutinho will likely start for the first time this season, taking his place in a side that has very much had mixed fortunes over the opening month of the campaign in terms of results, with wins over Arsenal and Crystal Palace soured by defeat to Man City and an opening-day draw against Watford.
The indifferent feel to the season continued in midweek, too, as the Merseyside outfit played out a 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla in a match that saw them squander a number of chances on their return to the Champions League.
Liverpool’s inability to defend is again the big topic of debate in the aftermath of that four-goal draw, with 13 goals conceded in seven games to date, but it is worth pointing out that the Reds have kept clean sheets in each of their last four home league outings.
The biggest priority for Burnley boss Sean Dyche heading into the 2017/18 campaign was to get his Burnley side more accustomed to picking up points on their travels, having won just once away from Lancashire in the whole of last term.
Incredibly, it took the Clarets just one match to equal that tally this time around, as they picked up a famous 3-2 victory over defending champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in one of the shock results of this or any other season.
Following that up with a snatch-and-grab draw away to a Tottenham Hotspur side still adjusting to life at Wembley Stadium was not a bad way to go about things, leaving Burnley in a good position to arrive at Anfield full of confidence.
It is at home where they have produced under-par displays, in fact, going down 1-0 to West Bromwich Albion thanks to a classic Tony Pulis performance, before just about grabbing victory by the same scoreline against Crystal Palace last time out.
Chris Wood was the hero of the day on that occasion, capitalising on some poor defensive play from the Eagles to find the only goal three minutes in, adding to the debut league strike at the death against Tottenham prior to the international break.
Burnley therefore find themselves level on points with their opponents, boasting a better goal difference of +1, while only Chelsea (172) have been ahead for more Premier League minutes in matches this season than Dyche’s charges (153).
The Clarets also managed to overcome Blackburn Rovers in a fiery East Lancashire derby in the middle of all that, setting up a third-round tie against Leeds United in midweek that Dyche may just be tempted to field a strong team for, knowing that a cup run will give supporters something to get excited about.
For now all focus is on this weekend’s trip to Anfield, however, where a Champions League-fatigued Liverpool have lost just two of their last 29 games in the Premier League.
Liverpool have won five of the six league meetings between the sides, including all three at Anfield and have scored at least two goals along the way.
The only blemish on the Reds’ record came 12 months ago when they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor. Three of Liverpool’s four league games this season have seen over 3.5 goals, while Burnley have scored in three of their four matches, which means we can expected goals on Merseyside.
Coutinho is almost certain to come in for his first start of the campaign after being eased back into action from the bench against Sevilla in midweek, filling in for the suspended Mané.
The other big decision Klopp has to make comes at the opposite end of the field, where Loris Karius was preferred to Simon Mignolet for the Champions League but will likely make way here.
Other changes can also be expected as Klopp again looks to rotate, with Daniel Sturridge, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrew Robertson, Ragnar Klavan and Trent Alexander-Arnold all pushing for playing time.
One man who simply loves playing against Liverpool is summer signing Jonathan Walters, who has netted seven against the Reds throughout his career.
Liverpool must avoid defeat to get over the thrashing from City last weekend and Klopp will need to get his side back on track against a Burnley side with no wins in 19 of their last 21 away league outings.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Burnley