Player ratings: Liverpool 4-2 Burnley

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Before kick off, I think we all acknowledged what a tactical master stroke it was by Klopp, to bring a rejuvenated Adam Lallana back into the starting lineup and so it proved as we dispatched Burnley at Anfield. It wasn’t all plain sailing though... Let’s see how the lads got on.

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Alisson (6) - Clearly fouled in the build up to Burnley’s opener which definitely should not have stood and performed well in some aspects but scored a point less for that crazy bit of risk taking when playing out from the back, when he waited until the last second before nonchalantly chipping the ball over the approaching Burnley player’s leg. In a must win game, when we’re 2-1 up and the conditions are so poor that the ball is moving around the pitch on its own, you don’t take stupid chances like that. It’s driving me nuts and it’s only a matter of time before it costs us another goal. Let’s just hope it’s not a title deciding goal. Arguably could have done better with their second.

TAA (6) - Heavily involved but lacking in quality today, as Trent continues to display the inconsistency of youth. Made some timely interceptions and as always, good running. Did get his delivery right on one occasion where he picked out Mane, only to see the Senegalese put it over the bar, when it looked easier to score. Went off with a reported shoulder injury late on, here’s hoping it’s nothing serious as we badly need a fit and firing Trent for the run in.

Matip (6) - Conceded a cheap corner, which Burnley scored the opener from and had a couple of nervy moments in the opening stages. Grew into the game however and put in a reasonably solid display in very difficult conditions.

Van Dijk (8) - He really is imperious. Ashley Barnes is a real handful of a centre forward but Virgil just dealt with him, as he has with pretty much everyone he has faced this season. Showed his good passing range and regularly got forward into attacking positions. I did think he was a little static in the build up to their second goal though.

Robertson (7.5) - A fairly vintage Robbo performance. Full of industry, he was heavily involved from start to finish. Solid defensively and a constant attacking outlet. The defensive attention our front three get, always leaves space for our fullbacks and Robbo exploits that better than anyone. Teams are never able to properly pick him up and stop him getting his deliveries into the box but his tireless nature, means he always seems to be there to do his defensive duties as well. Like Trent, should have had an assist when his superb ball was headed wide by Wijnaldum, when both he and Mane were in an excellent position to score.

Fabinho (7) - Fabinho’s influence on this team continues to grow and it would be a bit of a surprise not to see his name on the team sheet these days. A very intelligent player who breaks up play well and has a good passing range. Seems comfortable playing as a sole holding midfielder now, which is a credit to him for taking on the tactics and adapting his game accordingly. Looks a shrewd acquisition and I look forward to seeing him grow in the this team over the next couple of seasons.

Wijnaldum (6) - Disappointing game from Gini, especially in the opening stages as he slowed our attacking play right down a couple of times. Did play a nice one-two with Salah in the build up to our opener, which has saved his score but otherwise was fairly invisible. Understandably subbed.

Lallana (8) - We’ve had many a false dawn from Lallana so I’m not going to get too excited but the player ratings are about individual displays in the context of one game and in this one, he was our best midfielder on the day. Had a hand in both goals, with a good pass in the build up to the first and a really brave block that won back possession in a dangerous area, that allowed us to capitalise and score our second. Neat and tidy in possession - something that has been lacking in the team recently, leads the press really well and his hard work and commitment can never be questioned. Really good professional, just a perennial sicknote.

Salah (7) - Much improved display from Salah but things still aren’t quite coming off for him. He can kind of claim an assist for the first goal, although it was more luck, rather than design that led to the ball falling to Bobby for a tap in, as the goalkeeper and defender made a mess of it. He was also lucky Bobby was on hand to score the third after he’d made a mess of that too, when he should have rolled in Mane for a tap in, or finished it himself. Better but could do with a goal for his confidence. I wonder if breaking Torres record is on his mind. He’s been on 49 league goals for a while now.

Firmino (8) - Two of the easiest goals Bobby will score in his career but you have to be in the right place to get the tap ins and he was on two occasions. Bobby was tenacious in his defending from the front today and when he and Lallana are in the same team, it really does lead to a fearsome press. Showed a nice passing range today as well, all round good day at the office for our Bobby.

Mane (8.5) - A brace for Mane as he scored in his sixth consecutive home game and thank dog for Mane finding the form he has in recent weeks, as the other members of our front three have been misfiring. His first goal was a sublime first time finish and his second was perfectly timed after we’d given Burnley a late lifeline. Did their keeper a favour by staying on his feet for a tap in, when if he’d gone down it would have been a definite penalty and red card. I wonder if he’d have done the same thing against City and Ederson...

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Subs:

Hendo (6) - Came on with much endeavour and was trying to make his mark in midfield before finding himself at right back, which really isn’t his position. Did his bit though, as you’d expect from the skipper.

Keita (5) - Meh. This was back to the Keita we’ve seen for much of the season. Does something nice but then immediately runs down a blind alley or conceded possession. I don’t blame him though, if his confidence has taken a bit of a hit in recent weeks. After putting in arguably his best display of the season against Bournemouth, he’s been completely left out in the cold which I’ve found strange management from Klopp, unless there’s something we don’t know.

Sturridge (7) - Every now and again, Sturridge still does something that leaves you wistfully wondering what could have been... The way he controlled that ball and picked out Mane for the fourth goal was one of those moments. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up next season. Don’t see it being with us though.

Klopp-watch (7) - Jurgen was getting a bit of a berating from fans (myself included) for the inclusion of Lallana but his decision proved to be justified as Lallana was arguably our best player on the day, certainly our best midfielder. Klopp also made specific reference to how good he’s been in training, which is maybe also a clue as to why we’ve not seen much of Shaq or Keita in recent weeks. Shaqiri in particular isn’t getting a sniff but as long as we win, can’t really fault the manager.

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Summary:

The Jekyll and Hyde nature of our recent displays continue, as we showed all the tenacity and attacking intent that was lacking in recent games against Everton and United. The team showed good character today however, after being on the end of a very dodgy refereeing decision in the opening moments, that gifted Burnley the lead. You could feel the anxiety in the ground but it didn’t seem to affect the players and there was no sign of panic, which is a good sign for the continued growth of our squad.

It was vital we got back to winning ways and the players duly obliged with a totally dominant display. We play Fulham before City play again, meaning we have the chance to move back to the top of the table and put the pressure back on City.

Before that however, we have the small matter of Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. Which Liverpool is going to turn up? The tenacious, attacking team that dispatched Burnley, Watford and Bournemouth recently, or the ponderous, passive side that played out goalless draws with United, Everton and Bayern themselves?

Only time will tell but winning breeds winning and it’s been a while since we put together a string of victories. Time to start now as we head into the final stages of the season. Walk on.
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