Liverpool vs Burnley: Match Preview

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Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from a dismal performance against Manchester City in the league last Saturday – having been beaten heavily 5-0 away from home. However, a promising mid-week performance against Sevilla has shown the ability of our attack; albeit the defensive display. With Anfield buzzing having returned to the Champions League, the players could be the beneficiaries of a similar atmosphere this weekend.

Last Meeting: Liverpool 2-1 Burnley (12th March 2017)

When the sides last met at Anfield, Liverpool came out on top, courtesy of a wonder strike by Emre Can. Driven low and hard into the bottom right-hand corner, the German won a crucial game for the Reds in their charge for Champions League qualification.

An early goal from Ashley Barnes unsettled the crowd, but a goal on the stroke of half-time from Gini Wijnaldum ensured Liverpool would go into the break with hopes of a result. Overall, it was a nervy win for Klopp’s side who were far from their best on the day.

The Opposition

Burnley have had a mixed bag when it comes to their results this season – an opening day win against Chelsea stunned the world but a faltering performance against West Brom a week later was disappointing. With seven points on the board already, Burnley will be looking to consolidate their Premier League status under Sean Dyche.

Last time out, Burnley bagged a less than convincing 1-0 win against Palace – capitalising on a mistake by Chung-Yong Lee, as new signing Chris Wood scored his first goal for the Clarets. Wood could be the dangerman once again on Saturday, with Liverpool notoriously struggling against big target men.

Team News

Sadio Mane will serve the first Premier League match of his three-game ban for his collision with Man City keeper Ederson. It will be a huge miss for the Reds, with a large proportion of their pace now missing in attack. Either Coutinho or Oxlade-Chamberlain will be drafted in his place – which player Klopp opts to select remains to be seen. Mignolet will return to the side, with Karius featuring against Sevilla.

As for Burnley, goalkeeper Tom Heaton will be out for months after dislocating his shoulder during Burnley’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Understudy Nick Pope is likely to start at Anfield, but ex-United man Anders Lindegaard has been recruited by the club in preparation for Heaton’s lengthy absence. Other than that, there are no new additional injuries, so it should be more of the same from Burnley.

Predicted Liverpool lineup: Mignolet, TAA, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Henderson, Emre Can, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino; Salah.

Predicted Burnley lineup: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Cork, Defour, Brady, Wood; Vokes.

The Key Battle: Chris Wood vs Joel Matip

Having scored the winning goal against Palace, confidence will be sky high for Chris Wood having joined Burnley from Leeds for £15m. With aerial presence and clinical finishing, Wood is a classic target man and one that could cause Liverpool problems on Saturday.

His battle with Joel Matip may be the most intriguing on the pitch, the Cameroonian centre-back often avoids criticism as Lovren is the frequent scapegoat. Against both Manchester City and Sevilla, Matip lacked positional awareness and the ability to win a ball in the air – a surprise given his stature and strength. Wood could get the better of Matip, and if he does, Liverpool could find themselves in deep trouble.

Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Burnley

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