Records are meant to be broken someday and ultimately it happens, but what the fans don’t expect is that their fortress experiences the breach at the hands of a less strong side. After 68 games, 55 wins, 13 draws and almost four years, fortress Anfield has finally been breached by Burnley.
Burnley were the only team to take points off Liverpool at home last season. Now they recorded a still greater feat, Ashley Barnes’ late penalty making them the first team since Crystal Palace in April 2017 to take three points here.
In this season, no one sees what is coming, and overall this season during the COVID-19 Pandemic has been wilder than ever.
It's all over on Merseyside! ?
The Clarets are the first side to beat Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, since April 2017. ?
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) January 21, 2021
Back in December, Burnley bagged their first top-flight win over Arsenal in 1974. Now came the first win at Anfield since the year Bill Shankly retired and the focus on Liverpool’s plight should not deflect from the way Sean Dyche keeps on chalking up historic feats with Burnley.
The relegation fears for Burnley is also quite over.
For Liverpool, this was hard to digest.
For the first time since Gerard Houllier’s team failed to score in their final five games of the 1999-2000 campaign, they have gone four league matches without a goal. Jurgen Klopp’s side have not scored for 438 minutes in the league and taken three points from a possible 15, going from title favourites to a team who could drop out of the top four!
This team is habituated to create records rather than letting them slip.
The Reds had been absolutely relentless for so long, the wheels have come off for in recent weeks and this is not good.
After 68 games, 55 wins, 13 draws and almost four years, fortress Anfield has finally been breached. It was coming, but none of us expected that to happen against Burnley. From the title favourites Liverpool are now struggling to remain at the top four. pic.twitter.com/gJoQ2sVx6a
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) January 22, 2021
Since netting seven against Crystal Palace everything has stopped working. The goals have dried up and their confidence has evaporated. They look a shadow of the side which has swept all before them in recent seasons.
Klopp came at half-time when he threw a few choice words and gestured angrily at Dyche as both departed down the tunnel.
Their players were delayed on the pitch as VAR determined if Fabinho’s little kick at Barnes merited a red card – the booking was upheld.
The man of the night, Barnes was an antagonist to Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara. He got the game’s first booking for an agricultural challenge on the summer signing. He set up Klopp as well.
Sadio Mane started playing in the Premier League in 2014.
He signed for Liverpool in 2016.
This is the first time he's lost a league game at Anfield ? pic.twitter.com/Ja0PAImN2g
— Cardinal (@CardinalBetTips) January 22, 2021
Then, Burnley were too stubborn – unstinting and determined efforts to conquer Anfield.
Klopp was frustrated –hugely frustrated.
“We lost the game which is pretty impossible but we did it,” Klopp said to Sky Sports.
“That is my fault. It is my job to make sure the boys have the right feelings and confidence. That didn’t work out.”
“We had the ball a lot and created some situations that are OK but our final decision is not right. I said the same thing last week. When something doesn’t work you must try harder, longer, and more often and make better decisions. It didn’t work tonight.”
“It is always my fault. If I make clear which movements make sense because it will hurt the opponent and we don’t do that then I need to make it clearer. It is not that they don’t want it. It is difficult to play against these low blocks.”
“It helps if you score the first goal but we didn’t. That changes the opponent. After not scoring for a long time not everybody feels confident.”
Jurgen Klopp & Sean Dyche exchange strong words in the tunnel at half-time ? pic.twitter.com/rvnGEWMBiX
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 21, 2021
“I never thought of us as free-scoring. I knew we had to work hard. It is not the first time or last time it will happen in football.”
“We can only use this game for the next one. It is not because the players do not have the ability. Our decision-making is the problem. If we score in our big moments it changes things but we did not.”
Klopp gambled by selecting Origi and leaving Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah on the bench.
Divock Origi raced on to an attempted backpass of Mee and bent a shot past Pope. It rebounded back off the bar and straight to the goalkeeper. Origi had been granted an unexpected chance, a first league start of the season, but the gamble backfired.
Perhaps, Klopp intended to save Salah and Firmino for the FA Cup tie against Manchester United, each was summoned for the final half-hour.
◦ 3 years, 8 months
◦ 1,370 days
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The second-longest run in English top flight ends.
It's 68 and out for Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp ? pic.twitter.com/q0z5r1yCgC
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 21, 2021
Salah’s first notable action was to draw a fine save from Pope, following a surge from his own half by the stand-in skipper Gini Wijnaldum.
Pope was brilliant – saved twice from Origi, denied Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. He had held an effort from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Meanwhile, Xherdan Shaqiri arrowed a shot wide, Sadio Mane blazed over and Firmino was off target.
Liverpool had 27 shots, taking their tally to 87 since Mane scored their last league goal, they were not at their blistering best – welcome to the lean-patch and it would take some effort to get out of this.
Barnes earned and scored the penalty, winning his running battle with Fabinho by evading the Brazilian, hooking the ball over Alisson, and being brought down by the goalkeeper. Barnes coolly slotted in his spot-kick – and that was it.
Liverpool tried in vain, but it was too late.
They sent Alisson up for two late corners and asked Takumi Minamino to save them.
But, it was a night to forget for Klopp and Liverpool – they are not invincible at Anfield anymore!