Can Sean Dyche’s Clarets ruin Jurgen Klopp’s Saturday?
Burnley were lucky to get a touch of the ball in the second half on Sunday against Crystal Palace, never mind 3 points at the end of the game. Three precious points harvested that might make all the difference at the end of the season.
It certainly was not an enjoyable game to watch. Yes, it made up for not getting any points after dominating against West Bromwich Albion but Fortress Turf Moor certainly seems a long way away, judging from the first two home games of the season.
And what has happened to the crowd? I’m afraid for me, the odd rendition of the dirge like ‘In our Lancashire Homes’ is not good enough for a crowd that once put fear into the opposition. Raising the atmosphere inside Turf Moor is something I think the club need to put some thought towards.
The Clarets are unbeaten away from home so far this season, against two of the best sides in the league. Can Sean Dyche’s team make it a third unbeaten game on Saturday at Anfield against Liverpool?
Despite their qualification for the Champions League, the Reds aren’t in the same league as either of our previous hosts, Chelsea or Spurs. In fact they are pretty average despite a manager, Jurgen Klopp, seducing the media with his charm but failing to get anywhere near what you could call a decent defence.
Can Dyche come out on top against Klopp? Yes , if teams continue to miss open goals against us. The greatest Premier League manager in history, Alec Ferguson, had to rely on luck on many occasions and Sean Dyche seems to have inherited the same.
The ex-footballer and newspaper pundit Stan Collymore came out this week and blamed the Manchester City goalkeeper for getting Liverpool’s main striker Mane sent off. Collymore argued the keeper should have put his hands in front of his face . Maybe as an ex- Liverpool player he was desperate for the City goalkeeper to be sent off for handling outside his box?
Liverpool’s ill advised appeal against the length of the ban was rightly rejected. Pictures showed the City goalkeeper with a face that looked like it had been attacked by an Alsatian dog . Added to Liverpool’s problems with want away Coutinho, a missing Mane on Saturday can only help the Clarets cause.
Last season at Anfield Burnley looked on course for a result following an early Ashley Barnes goal. That was until the Clarets conceded on the stroke of half time. The inevitable then happened and we suffered a single goal defeat. One of many brave away performances last season that ended pointless. Things seem to be taking a different turn for Burnley this season .
The big talking point from the Palace game was the injury to Tom Heaton. While being happy with the 3 points, I would be surprised if any Burnley fan walking off after the game wasn’t concerned about the effect Tom’s long term absence will have on the Clarets over the coming months.
Nick Pope deputised brilliantly against Palace and should gain a lot of confidence from his performance . He is this week’s Player to Watch .
I made the point at the end of the transfer window that I was more worried about an injury to Tom this season than the lack of a 4th centre half. That concern wasn’t shared by many at the time so I hope that’s a good sign.
Jeff Hendrick should be back in contention for Saturday leading the way for Dyche to return to a 4-5-1 formation on Saturday.
Hopefully, talk of a hamstring injury to Steven Defour is no more than just that. Judged on the Palace performance, the Vokes/Wood partnership might be shelved for the time being. It’s much too early to write it off in my opinion as there was little service to them.
Robbie Brady had one of his rare off days this season and both early contenders for Player of the Season , Jack Cork and Steven Defour had to work tirelessly in protecting a resilient back four who were brilliant , including two goal line clearances from Matt Lowton and James Tarkowski.
For me, the Liverpool defence can be got at and while little was said of Johan Berg Gudmundsson last Sunday , there were a couple of runs in the first half where he cleverly beat his full back. I hope Dyche gives him the time he needs to gain in confidence after an injury ravaged last season.
A fresh Burnley side, brim full of confidence after coming away unbeaten from Stamford Bridge and Wembley, playing against a Liverpool team thrashed 5-0 in their last league game and having suffered a disappointing home draw against Sevilla in the Champions League last night.
This will be the fourth time Sean Dyche’s Clarets have played Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League and possibly presents the best chance to date of Burnley escaping from Anfield early on Saturday evening with three points in their travel bag.
This Burnley centric match preview was written by avid Clarets fan and regular contributor to Clarets Mad, Michael Donnelly alias “The Donz”. (TEC).