Liverpool analysis – Jurgen Klopp complaints justified as Thiago and Naby Keita expose problem

Alisson awesome as Klopp complaints justified

Alisson Becker’s performance at Turf Moor was so dominant it simply couldn’t be contained by the Liverpool man’s usual role.

Midway through the first half, the Brazilian found himself in possession in the left-back position, dropping his shoulder a few times in an attempt to lose Jay Rodriguez before remembering he was actually the goalkeeper and subsequently booting the ball into touch.

It wasn’t the only time Alisson was compelled to leave the sanctuary of his penalty area, several times heading clear first half as Burnley sought to capitalize on the horrendous conditions.

But it was in his day job the goalkeeper truly excellent, saving from Josh Brownhill and Rodriguez while dealing with the usual array of dangerous Burnley set-pieces.

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Alisson also made stops when they weren’t even required, unable to risk the assistant referee not because of raising his flag.

That ongoing policy, as Jurgen Klopp later point out, gave the impression Burnley were tearing the Reds defense apart when in fact, marshalled by Virgil van Dijk, the visiting backline was regularly lulling the home side into a trap.

But even when the Clarets did find a way through, they couldn’t get past Alisson, the ovation he received from the delighted traveling support after the final whistle richly deserved.

For the second away game in succession, Liverpool were grateful for their goalkeeper.

Keita and Thiago show way – and together

Cliche dictates any team heading to Turf Moor would be wise to roll up their sleeves and prepare for a proper scrap.

Liverpool, though, continue to prove there is another way to respond to such a challenge.

Sure, the Reds needed to dig in at times with Sean Dyche’s Burnley fiercely fighting for Premier League survival.

But while too many visiting players were coughing up possession during a blustery first helped, Naby Keita was providing some much-needed calm and composure in the hustle of the midfield, while also popping up with an effort that required a smart save from Burnley goalkeeper Nick pope

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Keita has appeared only more times against Leicester City and Chelsea than Burnley during his Liverpool career, a clear sign Klopp is aware of how his qualities suit such a fixture.

And the Reds further increased their control with the introduction of Thiago Alcantara’s quiet assurance on the hour – incredibly only the third occasion both the Spaniard and Keita were on the pitch for Liverpool at the same time.

Concern, though, continues over the form of Jordan Henderson, who had made way for Thiago.

The skipper completed only 50% of his passes – Keita was in excess of 90% – and looked uncomfortable long before the whack on his knee when making a yellow-card challenge on Erik Pieters.

Champions League next

Liverpool’s quest for honours, even allowing for the mid-winter break, has seemed unrelenting.

Not least given the quirk of the fixture list that has seen the Reds recently having to play catch-up on leaders Manchester City on a weekly basis.

With City playing first, the gap at the top has continually been to stretched to 12 points only for the Reds to drag Pep Guardiola’s side if not within touching distance, then certainly close enough to keep them honest.

Not quite shades of 2018/19, but it has allowed Klopp’s side to open up a seven-point gap to third-placed Chelsea with a double that to Manchester United in fifth.

Champions League qualification, then, is very much in Liverpool’s hands as they prepare to renew hostilities in the competition with a trip to Inter Milan on Wednesday in the round of 16 first leg.

Six successive victories in all competitions and a fully-fit squad augurs well.

Certainly, whatever the Reds face in Italy, it cannot be as physically demanding as the task nature and Burnley combined to set at Turf Moor.


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