Liverpool - Emre
Can's superb shot guided Liverpool to a 2-1 home win over Burnley on
Sunday and maintained their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions
Ashley Barnes, with his club’s first goal at Anfield since 1975, had
given Burnley a deserved early lead only for Georginio Wijnaldum to
equalise in first-half injury-time.
And Can struck just after the hour mark to secure victory for
Liverpool, although it was a far from convincing performance by Jurgen
German international Can collected a short pass from Divock Origi and
was allowed space to unleash a right-foot shot from 25 yards which the
Burnley goalkeeper, Tom Heaton, might have been expected to save before
it reached the bottom left-hand corner of his net.
Liverpool had gone in at the half-time interval level although it was
a scoreline that even the most ardent home supporter would have
admitted was harsh on Burnley.
With just two away points to their name all season - from a still
impressive tally of 31 - Sean Dyche’s team opened the game aggressively
and took the lead in just the seventh minute.
Right-back Matt Lowton crossed low into the area from the wing and,
after Andre Gray narrowly missed making contact, Barnes slid in ahead of
his marker to force the ball past Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Burnley, without a victory at Anfield since 1974, would have hoped to
reach the interval without conceding an equaliser and looked well on
course for that target for the majority of the half.
Not until the 45th
minute did Liverpool enjoy a 'shot' on target and that was actually an
over-hit defensive header from Burnley’s Joey Barton which forced Heaton
into a comfortable diving save, his first of the game.
But a minute into first-half injury-time, Liverpool claimed an unlikely equaliser which raised the mood around the stadium.
Origi, starting in place of the injured Roberto Firmino, crossed from
the left and Wijnaldum made a lazy attempt to control the ball,
flicking out a boot and benefitting from a fortunate rebound from
defender Ben Mee, before drilling home an unstoppable finish from six
Considering recent dominant home wins over Tottenham and Arsenal, it
was a disappointing start from a Liverpool side which has struggled
against the Premier League's lower-placed clubs this term.
Unbeaten against the top six all season, Liverpool's five league
defeats this term have come against teams currently in the bottom half
of the table - including 12th-placed Burnley, who won 2-0 when the
sides met at Turf Moor in August.
The first half offered little evidence those troubles were about to change.
Even before the goal, Burnley’s crosses from the right had caused
concern, with Gray’s chip almost finding Barnes after five minutes.
Solid at the back, Burnley also looked the more likely to score a second goal after Barnes’s opener.
After 25 minutes, Barnes yet again slipped his marker, Ragnar Klavan,
but was offside as he volleyed wide and Gray shot just over from a
difficult angle after a Lowton throw-in had flicked off James Milner’s
But the second half opened with Liverpool in far more determined
mood, although their suspect defending always gave Burnley hope.
Barnes sent a speculative first-time shot wide soon after the restart
before Liverpool finally started to threaten, with Joel Matip seeing a
shot blocked from a Philippe Coutinho cross.
Can’s goal was still harsh on Burnley, although the visitors almost
found a route back into the game just three minutes later, when Mee
headed a free-kick across goal and Barnes’s effort was blocked by
Both teams squandered late chances for further goals. Sadio Mane had
only Heaton to beat but saw the Burnley keeper tip his 12-yard shot over
the bar in the closing stages before Lowton missed a glorious
opportunity to equalise, shooting wide from a scramble in the area in