Wednesday, 4th March 2015, 20.00 GMT
Liverpool will hope to continue their unbeaten streak in 2015 (Premier League) when they host Burnley on Wednesday night. Meanwhile Sean Dyche’s side is in the eighteenth place and taking anything away from Anfield will be a big boost in their Premier League survival.
Team News & Tactics
The Reds have a few injury troubles, but are also boosted with the return of Mamadou Sakho who should be okay to feature in the game. Whether he starts or not will depend entirely on Brendan Rodgers and the player’s exact fitness state. Dejan Lovren has been employed in his place and the Croatian has done reasonably well since coming in. It was he who missed the decisive penalty against Besiktas sending Liverpool out of the second tier European competition, but that was not why the Reds lost that game and credit has to go to Lovren for stepping up in the first place. In the particular match as well, Lovren did well throughout the 120 minutes. Against Manchester City, the former Southampton player looked like he was getting his confidence back. A run of games might not be the worst thing for the most expensive Liverpool defender of all time, as he badly needs to settle and get his form back. Needless to say Sakho is the better option for the left sided centre back position. Martin Skrtel and Emre Can will comprise the other two positions in the back-line. The duo would certainly be haggard by now but they are a tested partnership so Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to shuffle. Jordan Ibe is out for a month with an injury he sustained against Besiktas so Lazar Markovic will continue in the right wing-back spot. Steven Gerrard has retuned to training but won’t be fit to start the game. Therefore, Jordan Henderson will continue to lead the Reds, which isn’t a bad thing since the Merseysiders are yet to lose a game Henderson has started as captain. Joe Allen put on an outstanding performance against Manchester City and with Lucas out, he is definitely guaranteed a place. Alberto Moreno has done really well recently and has put on some underrated performances and the Spaniard will continue on the left-flank for the Reds. Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho – who scored a stunning winner against City – will start behind Daniel Sturridge, who after coming on as a late substitute against City, is expected to start the game. Sterling played 120 minutes in Turkey before the full 90 at the weekend so he could be handed a rest and Adam Lallana, who could do with a run of games himself, could start in the Englishman’s place.
Liverpool are in exceptional form at the moment but Burnley are not a weak side and are very capable of taking away point(s) from the game, as they showed against Chelsea recently. Liverpool themselves found the going tough against the Clarets back in December. Therefore the Reds can’t afford to get complacent by any means. However, if they play the same way they have been in the recent weeks, they can expect three crucial points for their top 4 aspirations.
Predicted Line-up (3-4-2-1): Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Markovic, Henderson, Allen, Moreno; Sterling, Coutinho; Sturridge
Burnley won’t arrive in this game with the most confident of moods as they are without a win in six league outings. This does mean that the Clarets will be desperate for a victory, and having that extra zest might be exactly what they need to get something out of this game. Going back with even a point will be a big achievement for the visitors in their quest for Premier League survival and will also prove to be extremely advantageous since this trip to Anfield marks the beginning of a tough spell with a run of games that includes facing Southampton, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal next.
Burnley are without Matthew Taylor, who is still working on his fitness after getting an Achilles surgery. They will also be without Dean Marney and Kevin Long as both these players are out for the rest of the season due to cruciate ligament damage. Dyche is expected to go into this game with the same squad and starting 11 as against Swansea, a game they unfortunately lost 0-1 courtesy a Kieran Trippier own goal.
Burnley can prove to be a tough opposition for Liverpool and should look to deny the Reds the time and space they need to get their work done. The likes of Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson thrive on the blank spaces and look to exploit those to knit clever passes to teammates. If Burnley can stop that from happening, they could very well frustrate the hosts who might end up making a silly error which halts their run of 12 Premier League games unbeaten. The Clarets should also take confidence from rescuing a point at both the Stamford Bridge and the Etihad against Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.
Probable Line-up (4-4-1-1): Heaton; Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Mee; Boyd, Arfield, Jones, Kightly; Barnes; Ings
- Burnley have won just once in 11 league games dating back to mid-December, and the 2-1 victory at Stoke back in November remains their only success on the road all season.
- Liverpool have won all three Premier League meetings with Burnley, scoring nine goals and Burnley have failed to find the net even once. The Clarets’ last league win over Liverpool was by 1-0 at Anfield in September 1974.
- Liverpool are the Premier League’s form team in 2015 with 20 points from eight matches (W6, D2).
- Burnley have conceded 45 league goals, the division’s joint-worst tally with QPR.
Player to look out for:
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Henderson has really come a long way since his early days at Liverpool. The vice-captain, who is likely to be the captain tomorrow, will be in a confident mood after leading the Reds to victory against Manchester City. Henderson also scored a beautiful goal against the defending champions which would definitely increase his shooting attempts. The England international likes to dictate the tempo from the midfield and has three goals and six assists for his side this season. If he is on song, he could be Rodgers’ key man on the day.
Danny Ings (Burnley)
Rumored to be headed to Anfield next season, Ings will have the chance to impress his rumored suitors. The England U-21 striker has scored five goals in his last eight Premier League games and is in good form at the moment. He will hope to continue his individual form and hope it can help the Clarets get an awaited three points.
Liverpool 2 Burnley 1
Judging the result solely on current form, there is no reason to think the Reds won’t be able to get an essential win. However, Burnley have enough in them to put on a solid fight and Liverpool might just very narrowly be able to edge their opponents.
Blast from the past