Astonishing Liverpool record over as Burnley win at Anfield to blow title race wide open

Date published: Thursday 21st January 2021 9:52 - Samuel Bannister

Liverpool lost further ground in the title race as their goal drought continued with a 1-0 loss at home to Burnley, bringing an end to their run of 68 Premier League games without defeat at Anfield.

The champions, so successful in recent years with their attacking prowess, have now gone four Premier League games in a row without scoring.

If those fortunes continue, it could have a significant negative effect on their hopes of retaining their title. They are now six points behind leaders Manchester United at the half-way stage and may even have to start looking over their shoulders in the race for the top four.

Liverpool went into the match looking to find different ways to restore their sharpness up front. Jurgen Klopp shuffled his options around, dropping Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to the bench.

Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri started alongside Sadio Mane in attack instead.

Liverpool had a couple of chances via corners early on, but almost had a nervous moment when Alisson was caught off his line. He ultimately managed to save Ashley Barnes’ instinctive effort.

One of the players Liverpool were hoping would freshen things up, Shaqiri went close with a left-footed strike from outside the box.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in the team for similar reasons, also had a go, stinging Nick Pope’s palms with a shot that was at a comfortable range for the England keeper to save.

There was a golden opportunity for Liverpool to end their long wait for a goal when Origi got in behind and ran through one-on-one with Pope.

However, in a moment that summed up Liverpool’s plight at the moment, he struck the ball with too much power and it hit the bar.

There were unsavoury scenes at the half-time whistle, as both sets of players clashed after a coming together between Fabinho and Barnes. Both managers also clashed in the tunnel.

There was a VAR check for any potential red cards, but in the end, the decision to give Fabinho a yellow stood. The already-carded Barnes avoided punishment.

Liverpool went in at the break having had 13 shots – their highest amount in the first half of a Premier League game without scoring since 2017.


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Liverpool bring on big names, but little changes

Klopp sent Firmino and Salah on in the 57th minute as they looked to break the deadlock. Origi and Oxlade-Chamberlain went off.

The change almost had an immediate effect. Barely two minutes later, Pope produced a strong hand to deny Salah from close range.

Opposite number Alisson also had to be alert, using one hand to deny Barnes – who would have been offside anyway.

Dwight McNeil did well to create a chance for Burnley, keeping the ball in as he raced towards the byline. He cut it back into the box, but Johann Berg Gudmundsson shot off target.

At the other end, the ball was cut back for Firmino, but he fired wide as well. That marked Liverpool’s 20th attempt of the game, and they were still without a goal.

Instead, it was their visitors who got the chance to go in front when referee Mike Dean awarded them a penalty. Goalkeeper Alisson brought down Barnes in the box.

The man who had been fouled stepped up to take it. Barnes fired into the bottom corner to give Burnley a shock lead.

Burnley tried with all their might to keep hold of the win. The three points would prove crucial in their efforts to put distance between themselves and the bottom three.

Liverpool piled on the pressure but Burnley’s resistance held strong. It ensured a shock upset at Anfield which has major implications at both ends of the table.

Burnley become the first team to beat Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield since Crystal Palace in April 2017 as a result.

READ MORE: Pundit knew Liverpool star would miss; suggests title hopes are fading

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