Jurgen Klopp’s title chasing hopefuls kept up the heat on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester city as Liverpool beat Burnley to close to within one point of the defending champions.
After seeing Manchester City claim back top spot last weekend and being unable to get past Merseyside neighbours Everton, Liverpool knew only a win would do today.
They made the worst possible start though however, as Ashley Westwood’s spectacular corner after six minutes played evaded everyone in the penalty area, and beat Alisson to end up in the back of the Liverpool net.
However, it is widely believed the controversial goal should NOT have stood as Alisson was impeded by Burnley defender James Tarkowski. So, Liverpool were unfortunate to go behind early on.
Liverpool did show admirable fight to equalise through Firmino after a fantastic hustle by Mohammad Salah combined with a defensive mix up and error by goalkeeper, Tom Heaton, allowed Firmino to tap home.
By this stage, Liverpool seemed more at ease and grew into the game.
They didn’t have to wait long before the in-form Sadio Mane, quickly latched onto Mohammad Salah’s lay off, a fine charge down tackle from Adam Lallana and powerfully curled the ball beautifully beyond Heaton.
As Salah was brought down, it would have been a penalty anyway, but playing advantage meant Mane’s goal stood.
The 2-1 score line settled the Anfield faithful going into half-time as Liverpool chased an important victory.
The second half saw Liverpool make it 3-1 after another fine attacking move saw Salah unselfishly lay the ball off for Firmino to stab home in style.
Eye brows were raised before the match about Adam Lallana’s inclusion but everything good about Liverpool going forward went through him.
Whilst, the presence of Dejan Lovren, after two months out was also a timely boost.
Just as Liverpool thought they were on their way to a much needed three points, Burnley’s Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, poked the ball in after pinball in the Liverpool penalty box to set up a nervy finish.
However, Liverpool hit Burnley on the counter attack as Lallana and Salah played their part in setting up Sadio Mane, who took the ball casually around Heaton to seal the points for Liverpool.
The 4-2 score line will delight Klopp, especially with scoring four goals, however, the slip in concentration and the soft goals conceded will be a gentle reminder that Liverpool must tighten up defensively in the title run in.
Liverpool are now only one point behind Manchester City, if Jurgen Klopp’s side can beat Fulham next Sunday, they can seize back top spot once again.
Last few games, goals amassed vs goals dried up
We now flashback and explore how Liverpool’s two games last week went and look forward to Liverpool’s upcoming Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.
Sublime Liverpool Hit FIVE
Liverpool produced a scintillating performance to thrash Watford 5-0 and maintain their title hopes.
The Anfield faithful didn’t have to wait long for Jurgen Klopp’s side to open the scoring.
A fantastic cross from fit again local full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was headed by Sadio Mane after nine minutes.
The Senegalese sensation then improvised impressively in the Watford penalty area, producing a classy back-heeled finish past goalkeeper, Ben Foster, to put Liverpool 2-0 up.
Liverpool continued to press Watford in the second half with a fine fluidity and zip to their game that had been missing in their recent lacklustre draws.
Mohammad Salah continued to press Javi Gracia’s side with the kind of high energy that epitomised Liverpool’s performance.
Belgian forward, Divock Origi, who enjoyed a rare start, capped his night with a goal drilling low past Ben Foster who had no chance.
Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped in a delightful ball for Virgil Van Dijk who stooped home into the top corner of the net.
Then another outstanding header from Van Dijk made it 5-0 to Liverpool, securing a well-deserved three points to keep Jurgen Klopp’s men top of the Premiership.
A hat-trick of assists from the impressive Trent Alexander-Arnold gave the youngster the match ball.
The victory was notable considering that Watford have had a fine season and were, prior to the game, seventh in the Premiership. The best team outside the top six.
After the game, they slipped to eighth, after a bashing to their goal difference from Liverpool.
It was Liverpool’s fourth consecutive clean sheet and they are now 35 games unbeaten at Anfield. An impressive stat they will be willing to build upon as the title chase hots up.
Frustrating draw AGAIN as Liverpool drop more points
Liverpool were frustrating held to a drab 0-0 draw with neighbours Everton in an uneventful contest.
Mohammad Salah wasted two chances when in on goal, the first straight at Jordan Pickford and the second he bundled wide.
Fabinho also wasted a good chance late on with a heavy touch as the game ended goalless much to Liverpool’s frustration.
Now Jurgen Klopp’s men must cope with the prospect of being one point behind Manchester City, having played the same number of games.
Next week: Bayern and Fulham
Liverpool face Bayern Munich in the second leg of their champions League encounter at the Allianz Arena for a place in the quarter finals.
It is hoped that Jurgen Klopp and his players will take the competition seriously, unlike when they fell to Wolves in the FA Cup, as a similarly diminished field means the Champions League is all to play for.
With Tottenham, Porto, Ajax and Manchester United in the quarter finals and a host of big teams out, Liverpool have as good a chance as anyone.
Whilst a score draw, after the home leg shut out, will be enough to send them through.
That would be a massive confidence boost in the title chase. So, they should certainly play to win against Bayern.
Then next Sunday, they will face Fulham for the chance to go back to the top of the Premiership.
A perfect way to go into the international break if all goes according to plan for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
James Spencer, Paisley Gates