On a miserable New Year’s day in the north of England, Klopp’s reds snatched a late win that has potential to change the team’s self-belief. It had that season defining feel to it.
Klopp made seven changes due to playing twice in three days. Gomez played left-back ahead of Robertson, Mignolet and Klavan came in for Matip and Karius. Lallana and Gini came in for Milner and Coutinho in midfield, while Firmino and Salah were replaced by Ox and Solanke.
The game on the whole was dire. Rain and wind made passing and aerial balls difficult to manage. The Reds never got into any decent rhythm in the first half as the schedule, changes and opposition gave no quarter.
Burnley who sat deep and made Liverpool be precise in their passing, had the first chance as Barnes was put through, but he slashed his shot wide. Ox cut in to fire a decent shot from outside the area as he cut in from the left. Lallana then made a sensational last man tackle to deny Burnley a run in on goal following a counter from a corner. Arfield had his flicked on header saved while Solanke missed control the ball while taking a first touch for Liverpool’s best chance in the first half. Arfield then nearly repeated his Anfield heroics as his 18 yard strike curled just wide. A 45 minutes to forget.
The second half continued to be dire as Liverpool who forced with no finesse. However, once the clock went over an hour, Trent found Mane on the edge of the box, who turned and smashed the ball with his left into the roof of the net. Finally, some quality and Liverpool lead 0-1.
Trent and Ox then had shots saved as Pope kept Burnley in the game with two quality saves. Barnes then matched Arfield with a shot inches wide. However, with the time running out, Vokes flicked on a cross to the far post where Gudmundsson sneaked in behind Gomez to equalize. We all thought, here we go again, dropping points again from leading positions, but there was more.
Can who has just played near on 200 minutes in the past, three days took a pass from Ox and drove past two tackles and wins a free-kick for one more chance late-on. Ox takes a tough central free-kick, chips a delightful ball to Lovren who is backpedaling to goal, he flicks on the free-kick and as it looks to be going into the side netting, Klavan sweeps home to make sure at the far post and Liverpool have the win. The two central defenders had really good games and deserved the goal and assist between them.
It was by no means pretty and without Coutinho and Salah a below par overall performance, which ultimately made for a massive character building win. Now for the Blues in the FA Cup this Friday. 2018 looking fun already.