A free-scoring Burnley will look to be the first ones in the 2019-20 Premier League to stop the Liverpool juggernaut as the two teams take to Turf Moor on Saturday.
Burnley have had an interesting start to their 2019-20 campaign. Off of the gates quick with a 3-0 rout of Southampton, they have produced entertaining matches thereon, with a marginal 2-1 loss to Arsenal and the subsequent 1-1 draw with Wolves. The highlight of their season so far has been forward Ashley Barnes, whose form has got people talking of a potential senior England call-up.
Liverpool, on the other hand, just seem to have a winning mentality that is hard to counter. The Reds have not been as dominant on the pitch as last season yet. But, their ruthless attack ensures three points on almost every occasion.
However, one of the talking points of their start to the 2019-20 campaign has been their rather fragile defence, which has conceded goals in each of their Premier League games so far and have let alarmingly more shots at their goal than their average last season.
Liverpool are the only side remaining with a perfect record, three games in the season, which just goes to show how competitive the start to the campaign has been in general. Burnley and Liverpool do produce enticing matches whenever the two teams meet and the fans will expect more of the same on Saturday at Turf Moor.
Team News & Tactics
Sean Dyche has worked wonders with this Burnley squad. Minimal investment into the first-team setup in the summer meant Burnley weren’t fancied by many. But, their performances are converting naysayers into believers. The highlight of their play is the classic 4-4-2 system.
Dyche though, will come in harsh on the players after the 3-1 loss to Sunderland in the EFL Cup midweek. Neither Danny Drinkwater nor Joe Hart impressed in the match against Sunderland and are unlikely to be in contention for a start on Saturday.
Steven Defour and Robbie Brady are on the sidelines and will be out for a hefty time. But, Johann Gudmundsson has picked up a calf injury, which will force Dyche to make a change into the starting eleven that drew with Wolves on Matchday 3. In Gudmundsson’s place on the right side of the four-man midfield, we should see Jeff Hendrick start against Liverpool.
The rest of the lineup should remain the same, with the highlight in the back four being summer arrival Erik Pieters, who has gelled in with the rest of the squad pretty well and quickly. The left-back is accompanied by the likes of Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and Matthew Lowton in the back four, with Nick Pope guarding the Burnley goal.
Jack Cork, Ashley Westwood and Dwight McNeil will complete the midfield alongside Hendrick. Ashley Barnes will lead the Burnley attack against Liverpool, with Chris Wood accompanying the forward.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Barnes, Wood
Alisson is still sidelined, which means Adrian will continue to deputise in the Brazilian’s stead. Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne are also out of contention for a feature against Burnley. The Liverpool defence should see one change, with Jurgen Klopp continuing his ritual of playing Joe Gomez instead of Trent Alexander-Arnold against teams to add a bit of defensive buffer.
Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson will complete the back four. Fabinho has locked down a regular place in midfield and should start at the base of the three-man midfield. With Naby Keita doubtful ahead of the match, we should see Jordan Henderson keep his place in the starting lineup.
The midfielder has shown he can be an asset going forward as well and is likely to assume a more attacking role in the midfield. The last spot is to be contested by James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum. And while the latter usually gets the nod, Milner could be given a chance against Burnley to add some presence amid the physicality of the Burnley lineup.
The forward line is set in stone, with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino weaving their magic up ahead in attack. Klopp has lamented that Xherdan Shaqiri is not among the happiest in the bunch and wants to play. But, unless there is an injury or double matchdays start, we are unlikely to see the Swiss being given a start.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane
1. Liverpool Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.72
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.61
1. Ashley Barnes to score anytime @ 4.33
1. Burnley and Liverpool have both scored in last five of their Premier League meetings.
2. Liverpool have won on four of their last five visits to Turf Moor.
3. Liverpool are on a 12-match winning streak in the Premier League.
4. Justifying the scoreline – Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals for 12 Premier League games in a row now.
5. Ashley Barnes has scored 5 goals in his last four Premier League games and has scored in each of them. No Burnley player has ever scored in 5 Premier League games in a row.
Player to Watch
It has to be Ashley Barnes. The Burnley forward has been quick out of the gates, with 4 goals in 3 games so far. And his performance levels have not shown any signs of dropping just yet. Up against a Liverpool defence that has looked far from their compact and solid selves, Burnley’s best chance will be to get the ball to Ashley Barnes or on his head.
Adrian has withstood the test against Arsenal. But, he cannot afford to make the same mistake he did against Southampton, for this time, it could cost Liverpool points.
Burnley 1-2 Liverpool
We believe it will be a repeat of the Burnley-Arsenal game. Burnley were dominant in spades, but Arsenal were just more clinical and had more creative nous in their squad. The same could be said for Liverpool, although Liverpool’s midfield isn’t as great, especially with Naby Keita a doubt for the clash.
Burnley’s home record from last season was near impeccable and Sean Dyche would hope they can take some points off of Liverpool going into the international break. Liverpool though, would want to head into the break with a perfect record and unless we see another Barnes masterclass, the Reds should be good to notch up all three points on Saturday.