Liverpool had to battle hard to stretch their unbeaten run as they needed an injury time winner to beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor on Monday
The Reds dominated possession for much of the first half, but chances came few and far between on either end of the pitch. The game opened up in the second half as the visitors went in search of a match winning goal, also helping Burnley grab a few half chances.
The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour mark as Sadio Mane controlled the ball, turned and drilled the ball past Nick Pope and into the top left corner. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then came close to doubling Liverpool’s advantage, while Ashley Barnes shot narrowly wide for the hosts.
As the game approached its end, Liverpool were left shell shocked as Burnley scored through Johann Berg Gudmundsson, having piled on the pressure for a sustained period. But, the Reds ended up having the last say in the match, deep into injury time as Ragnar Klavan scored the winner after being set up by a glancing header by Dejan Lovren.
GET IN!!!! 🙌
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 1, 2018
The result meant Liverpool consolidated their place inside the top four, keeping pace with Manchester United, who won later in the evening. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men after a hard-fought win over Burnley.
Simon Mignolet: 7/10
The Belgian shot stopper returned to the side on Monday, and was handed the armband by Klopp. Mignolet did not have much to do on the evening, with Burnley having little possession, and shooting wide whenever they did create a chance. The hosts did score eventually, but Mignolet couldn’t have done much to stop it.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Alexander-Arnold did not charge forward as much as he usually does, in the first half, as he tentatively stayed back to deal with Gudmundsson. Looked more like his usual self in the second half, with one of his trademark lung bursting runs ending with the cross that was converted by Mane for Liverpool’s opener. Another impressive outing for the youngster.
Dejan Lovren: 7.5/10
Just as it started to look like Lovren’s run as a regular in the first-team setup could be coming to an end, the Croat produced one of his best performances of the season. Ashley Barnes was largely anonymous for most of the match due to Lovren’s solid display, but his biggest contribution came on the other end of the pitch.
With the match seemingly heading for a draw, Lovren glanced his header into no man’s land, which was then duly converted by Ragnar Klavan to clinch all three points for Liverpool.
Ragnar Klavan: 7.5/10
Ragnar Klavan vs Burnley
4/7 aerial duels
Dribbled past zero times
1 last minute winner! pic.twitter.com/d1c3D94HhN
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) January 1, 2018
Another solid outing for the Estonian, who has barely put a foot wrong this season, whenever given an opportunity. Klavan’s distribution was superb as well, playing out some fantastic balls from the back. He then capped off a fine showing with the winner that ensured that 2018 started on a positive note for the Reds.
Joe Gomez: 6.5/10
Gomez showed his versatility by starting as the left-back, to complete the defensive set this season, as Klopp chose to rest Andrew Robertson. Largely unfazed on the evening, the young Englishman was solid and composed, although the evening ended in a whimper when he let Gudmundsson make a run off him and score the equaliser.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
As has been the case for Wijnaldum in Liverpool colours, he was typically quiet in another away game, not doing much in defence or attack. The Dutchman isn’t imposing enough, and it is starting to become a dangerous trend.
Emre Can: 6/10
Calm and composed once again in a deep lying role in midfield, Can did not let much through from the middle. But, he was extremely sloppy on the ball, and his inability to raise the tempo of the game meant Burnley got the time to settle in behind the ball. However, he ended the game on a high, earning the free-kick that resulted in the winner.
Adam Lallana: 7/10
Adam Lallana channeling his inner prime Beckenbauer with an insane last-ditch effort. pic.twitter.com/ctvPb3fKAg
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) January 1, 2018
Making his first start of the season, Lallana had many positives in his performance, trying to play clever balls through the lines as he likes to. While he was understandably still rusty, the Englishman put quite the shift in, on both ends of the pitch, with a last ditch tackle to stop Gudmundsson go clean through on goal being his telling contribution.
He is almost like a new signing for Klopp, and will be a key figure for the Reds heading into the second half of the season.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to have finally found his footing at Liverpool. While he wasn’t at his best all through the evening, the Englishman worked hard on both ends of the pitch. He also played a major role in both goals, especially the winner as his free-kick ended up with Klavan finding the back of the net.
Dominic Solanke: 6/10
With Klopp choosing to rest Roberto Firmino, Solanke was given another start. But, it was an evening of frustration for the youngster, who still hasn’t broken his duck for Liverpool. With Burnley playing in a compact fashion, the Englishman was isolated and he failed to take the one opportunity that did come his way.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
A blow-hot blow-cold evening for Sadio Mane, who hasn’t exactly been in the best of forms of late. With the Burnley defence almost doubling up on him at times, the Senegalese struggled in the first half, but he produced a sensational moment that broke the deadlock for his side.
5 – Sadio Mane has been involved in five goals in his last four Premier League games away from Anfield (two goals, three assists), as many as in his previous 15 combined. Fab. pic.twitter.com/mQxvKPHCZ0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 1, 2018
And what a goal it was. Collecting Alexander-Arnold’s deflected cross, Mane turned to create space for himself before thundering the shot into the top corner.