Move over Nunez, Jota & Diaz: Liverpool’s 9/10 star “made the difference” vs Burnley
Jurgen Klopp’s side returned to winning ways in the Premier League whilst not at their best
It wasn’t pretty at times, but Liverpool got the job done against a spirited Burnley side that will look back wistfully at chances squandered in this Premier League clash at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had fallen to defeat against title rivals Arsenal in London last weekend but reclaimed top spot from Manchester City, who have a game in hand, with a 3-1 victory.
Burnley’s inability to take their chances came back to haunt Vincent Kompany; as Liverpool have proved on numerous occasions, their relentless attack will just keep on plugging and probing.
Mohamed Salah remains in a period of convalescence following a muscular injury sustained at AFCON but all three of Klopp’s starting forwards were on the score sheet today.
Liverpool’s efficient attack prevails
Diogo Jota opened the scoring in the first half after finding space in the ruck and notching onto Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delivery from a corner, bagging his 14th goal from only 17 starting appearances in all competitions this term.
Burnley had their opportunities for sure and Caoimhin Kelleher – standing in for Alisson after Klopp revealed there had been a flu outbreak in the squad this week – made three saves, notably preventing David Fofana after the break.
Dara O’Shea’s thumping header from a corner had handed the visitors parity before half-time but Luis Diaz touched home from close range after 52 minutes to restore Liverpool’s lead, before the mercurial Darwin Nunez headed in from Harvey Elliott’s cross to seal three points for a record-attendance Anfield crowd.
Dominik Szobozlai was among the absentees once more for Liverpool but the loss of his creativity was attenuated by Elliott’s performance, replacing the injured Alexander-Arnold during the interval to turn the tide.
Harvey Elliott “made the difference”
Elliott, aged 20, has only completed four starts in the Premier League this season but after supplying Nunez’s 12th goal of the campaign, his own tally rises to one strike and three assists in the top-flight.
Not bad. Liverpool correspondent Neil Jones even noted that Elliott “made the difference” for his lacklustre peers, who might not have found their shooting boots without his spark.
As per Sofascore, the England U21 international was in fine showing across his 45 minutes on the pitch, taking 41 touches, completing 85% of his passes, creating one key pass, integral in both of his team’s goals after the break and completing three of his four attempted long passes.
There remain questions around Elliott’s defensive application – he won just one ground duel and made only one tackle – but should the young buck continue to make incremental gains to his craft then he will soon be earning opportunities from the outset with regularity.
He certainly looks like he’s on the way to achieving this, with the Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle handing the talent a stunning 9/10 match rating and writing: ‘Made instant impact with his energy and care in possession, and put in inviting crosses for the second and third goals. Helped change the game.’
As per FBref, the 5 foot 7 dynamo ranks among the top 9% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for shot-creating actions, the top 5% for progressive carries and the top 4% for successful take-ons per 90, emphasising the qualities that Klopp simply cannot ignore.
A prodigious skill set now shaping into something fit for purpose at the heart of Klopp’s intricately woven system, Elliott saved the day for the Reds and was the real reason behind the second-half success.