Liverpool came back from 1-0 down to thrash Burnley 4-2 at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp’s men resumed their stride and momentum chasing Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
The win ensures the Reds maintain their push for Premier League glory, as Burnley remain on 30 points and firmly embroiled in a fight for survival.
Gap back to one
Another home win for Liverpool extends their run of unbeaten games at home to 35, and with those three points, the gap between them and Manchester City is closed to one once more. With Spurs losing this weekend for the third time in a row, it truly is now a two-horse race.
The title will be won by a north-west side but which one is very hard to say. Manchester City have some big games left but Liverpool have been misfiring recently and can’t seem to string two positive results together consecutively. All we know is it’s going to be a brilliant run in, and hopefully we see a few more twists and turns.
Manchester City are a juggernaut of a team and if Liverpool were to finish second then it should still be classed as a great season. Last season the blue side of Manchester ran away with it, without a single challenger, but for any side to bridge the gap there was, as Liverpool have done, is a great achievement.
VAR is again another major talking point
Burnley’s first goal inside six minutes gave them an early lead which put Liverpool on the back foot, but it was a goal that shouldn’t have stood. A corner whipped in by Ashley Westwood floated through everybody and ended up in the net without being touched.
With one Burnley defender backing into the Liverpool goalkeeper and another jumping on top of his shoulders from behind, the Alisson had no chance in preventing the ball from crossing his line. The Brazilian was furious but the referee didn’t spot the infringement and he booked the keeper for his complaints, which were warranted of course.
With VAR, you would have expected this one to be flagged and therefore looked at once more by the referee, and no doubt this goal would not have stood.
There seems to be more and more moments in football recently which call for VAR. It helps referees make better and more informed decisions and that can only be a plus for the game we all love. Luckily, this time, the bad decision didn’t influence the result, but moments like this surely add up and someone will eventually fall short (ask PSG midweek…).
VAR is necessary – the game has evolved, it’s quicker, faster and rules are being bent in all directions. VAR will help referees make better decisions, and although it has its issues and is not perfect, the sooner we move towards it, and the sooner VAR improves and becomes the ultimate refereeing tool the game needs.
Goals from Westwood and substitute Gudmundsson were not able to make a dent in Liverpool’s unbelievable record at Anfield, but there were signs of positivity to take from the occasion on Sunday afternoon. Sean Dyche’s men asked some testing questions of Liverpool at times but it was a handful of errors that ultimately cost them the goals and then the game.
The Clarets sit two points above the relegation spots as they lose their third game on the spin. Dwight McNeil, the youngster who is making a small name for himself, played very positively and without fear. He had the Liverpool right back, Trent Alexander-Arnold, on the back foot multiple times through the match. He is a real bright spark since he burst onto the scene and it’ll be nice to watch him improve as the season goes on.
He will be a key player for Sean Dyche if they are to play Premier League football next season. After Christmas Burnley looked to have dragged themselves out of the relegation fight but they’ve been reeled back in now and with eight games to go they have to start their fight which could go right down to the wire.
Key facts and milestones
Liverpool share top spot for points secured from losing positions, which is shared with Manchester United and Leicester with 13 points secured from behind. Not bad whatsoever as this shows this Liverpool side have the mental strength to succeed here.
And of course, Liverpool’s home record goes on, as mentioned before, which now stands at 35 unbeaten games.
Roberto Firmino’s two goals for Liverpool means he now has contributed 100 goals and assists, combined, which breaks down to 63 goals and 37 assists in a red shirt. If Firmino can start firing towards the title races finally hurdles, this would be a huge boost for Klopp.
Sadio Mane was also at the double on Sunday, securing his 50thgoal in just 109 games, not bad for a player who plays wide and comes inside. He is now the 56thplayer to reach a half-century in a red shirt. Additionally, Mane has now scored 16 goals this season which equals the league’s top scorer, Sergio Aguero, with goals scored without penalties taken into consideration. That says a lot about the Liverpool winger as all of his goals have come from open play and he has been vital to a good season.
Liverpool travel to snowy Munich for Wednesday’s Champions League clash which could see all four English sides into the final eight, and then travel to Fulham on Sunday in a battle between top and bottom.
Burnley welcome Leicester on Saturday as they continue to fight for every point possible in their relegation battle.