Player ratings: Burnley 0-3 Liverpool

Firmino-and-Fabinho
Our fine early season form continued yesterday, as Burnley were swept aside at Turf moor. Four wins out of four now for our European Champions as we maintained our 100% start to this season’s league campaign, ahead of the tedium of the upcoming international break. Let’s see how our league leaders got on.

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Adrian (7) - That was more like it from Adrian. Couple of decent saves in the game, his handling was steady and he kept it simple. Didn’t have too much to do, such was our dominance but dealt well with everything he had to. More of the same moving forward please.

TAA (7) - Decent all round game from Trent and a marked improvement defensively I thought, including one really difficult clearance when facing his own goal. Involved in the very fortuitous opening goal, after his cross deflected off a Burnley defender and looped over the hapless Pope in the Burnley goal. At first glance it looked like it had gone straight in and Klopp looked crestfallen when he heard it was an own goal. Still, Trent can be pleased with his performance.

Matip (8) - Another solid display from Matip, as we’ve simply come to expect from him now. Dealt really well the the physicality of Ashley Barnes - a player who is a handful for almost every defence he faces in the league but was kept quiet by Matip for the vast majority of the game. Brought the ball out from defence well and showed a good passing range throughout.

Van Dijk (8) - It’s funny to think that only a couple of seasons ago, any kind of aerial ball into our box caused mass panic. Now, we just know Virgil will deal with it and yesterday was no different as he headed clear everything that came near our box, again and again. Dominated the Burnley forwards both physically and technically. You see Virgil drain the confidence from forwards as they run out of ideas - you can’t bully him physically, you can’t outplay him and there are very few who can outpace him. Beast of a CB.

Robertson (7) - It took less than a minute of the game for Robbo to go crunching into a tackle, chase down the loose ball and go marauding down the Burnley wing. This set the tone for another tireless display from Robbo. Not really troubled defensively throughout but was heavily involved in our build up play. He and Mane dominate the left side of the pitch brilliantly together. Probably the best left sided pairing in world football right now.

Fabinho (7) - A dominant figure in front of our back four yesterday, mopping up lots of second balls throughout and breaking up any attempts by Burnley to get a foothold in midfield. Comfortable throughout as we dominated Burnley all over the pitch.

Henderson (7.5) - Boundless energy from the skipper in the middle of the park and put Salah clean through with a lovely dinked pass in the first half. Crossing wasn’t up to much on the day however. Still, he and Gini smothered Burnley in the middle of the park and he got forward at every available opportunity.

Wijnaldum (7) - Gini’s famed dirty work was on display once more, as he made a number of well read interceptions and very effectively shut down any Burnley attempts to play through midfield. Won back and retained possession well but as I so often feel with Gini, doesn’t offer enough going forward. Has played well this past couple of games though.

Salah (6) - Right, I hate to say I told you so but... I told you so! I’ve been saying for months and months that it’s only a matter of time before Salah’s selfishness in front of goal starts to breed disharmony with the other members of our attacking triumvirate - particularly Mane and yesterday we saw it publicly for the first time. Two separate occasions yesterday Salah could and should have played in Bobby for a tap in earlier in the game and Mane for a tap in in the latter stages. On both occasions he instead tried to score himself when the likelihood of success was slim. I’m not having this ‘all strikers have a selfish streak’ either. That’s just a cop out to give a popular player a free pass for terrible decision making that is having a negative effect on the team and in particular, team harmony which has always been so strong under Klopp. Yes all forwards have a selfish streak to a degree but there has to be a balance and Salah has no concept of that balance, he simply goes himself every time and it needs to stop. It’s the worst kind of terrible decision making from a player as well as it’s ego driven. Mane had every right to be annoyed. Salah isn’t the only one chasing the golden boot and he needs to start being more of a team player, before there is a major falling out in our dressing room, which could derail our season. It’s also not inconceivable that the league could go down to goal difference and we should have had another two yesterday.
Anyway, that aside, he was actually very good yesterday, desperately unlucky his first half shot hit the post and again when he ran through on goal and the ball rebounded off him and agonisingly wide. Was on his way to an 8 but two points deducted for his overly selfish play that has been obvious for months. Needs to have a word with himself.

Firmino (9) - Bobby’s sensational early season form continued with what was a man of the match display for me. Intercepted a sloppy pass from Ben Mee for our second goal, driving forward before perfectly teeing up Mane for the finish. Swept home the killer third goal himself, latching onto a ball after some good work from Salah. Covered every blade of grass as always and tormented Burnley with his unique brand of technique and tenacity.

Mane (8) - Another excellent display from Mane, worried the Burnley defence the whole game and finished his chance expertly. Was visibly furious with Salah once substituted and had an uncharacteristic outburst on the bench. Here’s hoping it was just a flashpoint moment and not months of resentment finally starting to boil over. I think Mane is sick of being in Salah’s shadow and I hope it isn’t going to be a problem moving forward as he’s every bit as important to our team as Salah is.

Subs:

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Ox (6) - More important minutes under his belt and stung Pope’s hands with a decent effort from outside the box - something we’ve lacked since Coutinho’s departure. Could really have done without an England recall at this stage of his comeback though. I actually think it’s quite irresponsible of Gareth Southgate and I’ll be livid if he comes back crocked as he’s got a big part to play for us this season.

Origi (N/A) - Ran around.

Shaqiri (N/A) - Waddled around.

Klopp-watch (9) - I thought Klopp might have mixed up his midfield yesterday but he went with the same team that beat Arsenal and I can understand why. The team clicked properly for the first time this season against Arsenal and I suspect Klopp wanted to maintain that rhythm as it then becomes easier to swap one player without major disruption to the rhythm of the team. Perfect start, can’t ask for much more apart from maybe a quiet word with Salah.

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Summary:

This team Klopp has built impress me more all the time. How do you beat us? I was looking at our team yesterday and thinking you can’t beat us with physicality, you can’t outrun us, outwork us, outscore us. If you want to try and overload our half the way Guardiola usually likes to, we’ll slaughter you on the counter attack. We only lost one game last season and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we achieve similar levels this season. Our team is so well balanced, we must be a nightmare to play against.

What we must keep though, is our team spirit. It has been one of our greatest strengths under Klopp and without it, results like the Barca comeback last season aren’t possible.

I said in a recent ratings that I think the penny has dropped for Mane and he now knows he’s one of the worlds best attackers. He’s out scored Salah in 2019 and I totally understand why he’s feeling aggrieved at the way Salah plays. It drives me nuts as a fan, god knows how infuriating it must be for Mane. Salah is already played in far more often than Mane and given his goal return that is understandable and I’m sure Mane understands that as well. The way Salah plays at 0-0 however, is the way most strikers play when the team is 4-0 up and said striker is chasing a hat trick. When it’s 0-0 or 1-0 that’s not acceptable and it was inevitable that sooner or later it would cause problems with his team mates.

Ultimately, it’s up to Klopp to sort it out and I hope he does, as this kind of thing can lead to players seeking pastures new. Anyway, that’s enough negativity. We went away to Burnley, a very tough ground to go to and we simply swatted them aside. The fact we’re all talking about the Mane outburst as opposed to our perfect start to the league campaign, shows how much we’ve grown in the last two years and the level of trust we now have in this team that we’re not at all surprised by our perfect start and are somewhat taking it for granted.

Anyway, we now await with baited breath as the accursed international break looms, swooping all our players off for plane journeys, new training methods and dodgy pitches in an attempt to maximise as many injuries as they can out of it so keep everything crossed all our players come back healthy.

That’s it for today then troops. YNWA

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