FULL TIME AT ANFIELD REVIEW: REDS LOOK TO BE BACK TO THEIR BEST AS THEY BURNT BURNLEY
Liverpool today played how most title winning teams play – with the mindset of a champion. Our buildup was piss-poor for most of the first half, the lads were all over the place, and most annoying of all it seemed knowledge of football basics like how not to ruin your first touch was miles away from most of our players’ minds. We did all that and still came out the other end with three points with a valuable win; quite the rarity for the Reds as we only tend to win when we go all out playing at 150% of our abilities which tends to happen when we play against big sides as has been the trend all season.
We played poorly today, couldn’t get Red Rain going in the first half as we were busy watching the visitors work their attempt to get the double over us. And they started brilliantly, getting the early goal in the 7th minute through a well worked counter that saw Matthew Lowton thread in an immaculate through ball from the mid-right that found Ashley Barnes who, though on the stretch, made no mistake finding the back of the net as no pressure was put on him to do otherwise.
Now I’ve seen the lads play poorly this season but the first 32 minutes of today’s game has to take the prize as not even our horrendous showing at the King Power Stadium not too long ago can even compare to how abysmally the lads got on their job the first half hour of this match. The only silver lining in the first half hour was that we managed to keep the score-line from blowing out as the visitors looked to take advantage of the early shock the goal caused us by adding to our misery but it wasn’t to be.
Like I said, we played like champions today because somehow that shift in mentality happened not after the halftime team talks but in open play in the first half whilst getting hounded by Burnley. We switched up and took the game to them, kept possession more, worked the wings and started getting balls through their final third giving the visitors a lot more to think about which led to us winning more fouls in dangerous zones and more corners before the halftime whistle.
It was only a matter of time before the already shaky Burnley back-line crumbled before the typhoon of Red as Origi drove through the left getting a decent cross off looking for Wijnaldum in the box but found a Burnley defender who made a mess of his clearance attempt under pressure from our trusty Dutchman getting the ball to fall kindly and Gini made no mistake from 6 yards with a perfectly timed strike to get us back in it right before halftime.
The second half saw a positive Liverpool side (sorta), ready to get the ball rolling and wasted no time putting Burnley under immediate pressure after the starting whistle for the 2nd half, working the ball in the visitors half for most of the opening minutes leaving Burnley with little options off the ball and this led to more foul tackles, more cautions, and more time off the ball for the visitors. The break came in the 61st minute, moments after a lack-lustre Coutinho got substituted bringing on the youngster, Ben Woodburn. Origi made yet another dangerous raid through the attacking final third, releasing Emre Can just outside the box and from almost nothing the former Leverkusen man fired home a bolt-cutter of a strike to get us ahead as his effort pinged the bottom right corner.
With that the Reds made little slip-ups slowing the game down and keeping possession, effectively running down the clock whilst keeping the visitors at bay save a minor hiccup in the 93rd minute that could have been much worse as a long throw for Burnley looked to cause all kinds of confusion as the right fullback, Lowton got on it after Keane got the nod down to find him in space but he couldn’t keep his close-range strike on target at the back post saving our blushes as we were pretty much helpless in that situation.
With that all it took was a goal kick and a few touches before the match official blew for fulltime to close out a memorable win for the Reds at Anfield. March 12, 2017 – the day we played well below par and still got 3 points. An evening of firsts for us as the win got us reinforcing our position in 4th and one point away from 2nd position with Arsenal in 5th with 2 games outstanding and Tottenham in 2nd with just a game at hand with their highest goal-scorer picking up a knock 10 minutes into their FA Cup tie. Interesting times ahead for us with 10 games left in the season as May 21st beckons.
Milner (6.5), Klavan (6.7), Matip (7.5), Clyne (6.7);
Lallana (6.8), Emre Can (7.8), Wijnaldum (7.5);
Coutinho (4.5), Origi (7.8), Sadio Mane (6.0).
MAN OF THE MATCH