Burnley shocked Liverpool in the past in front of an empty Anfield, but today, they were welcomed by vociferous fans, who brought back the magic and the Reds responded immediately. It was a hard-fought but well-earned victory in front of the passionate fans as Liverpool maintained their good start to the season.

Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip commanded central defence and delivered a reminder of the assurance that was ripped from the team last season. Not that a reminder is required. Liverpool’s full-backs provided the assists for Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane to secure victory.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s impact was evident but with Andy Robertson returning to the bench after an ankle injury, it was Konstantinos Tsimikas who filled the void on the left with intensity.

“Both full-backs had a good game. Both spectacular, if you want, with two nice [assists] – Kostas with the cross and Trent with the little cheeky curveball or whatever for Sadio. It was a good game. I think everybody thinks both full-backs played a good game and in this situation that means they were defensively really good as well in a really difficult game from a defensive point of view,” said Jurgen Klopp after the match.

“ In football, usually you have a plan, you have an idea, you want to win the ball here or there, against Burnley there is no winning the ball here or there. It is only around the center-halves where you have to pick the ball up and we have to protect constantly like crazy. I cannot remember a high-press situation, it is just not possible, at least it was not possible today. But the full-backs were really good, which helped us to win the game.”

Then there was the 18-year-old Eliot who played at the center of the park alongside the big boys. Elliot and the team showed glimpses of the form that hinted what the Reds might be capable of in the coming days this season.

Klopp said, “Everybody wants to talk to me about Harvey and I understand absolutely – when an 18-year-old boy plays such a mature game I can understand why everyone was asking, but I was not surprised he played like this. That is exactly how he has trained now for six or seven weeks since we are back since he is back from loan. Yes, it was good.”

Burnley ended Liverpool’s club-record 68-game unbeaten home run last season and their 100% home winning streak the season before. They were a thorn once again. Van Dijk, Matip, and Alisson, however, were a formidable force.

Klopp stated, “We are not surprised by that because they played together, they are both really good footballers and that’s how it is. I can tell you now already that because of the things that happened during the last year, we needed desperately to bring in the fourth center-half and now we have six with Rhys and Nat Phillips. We needed that, so they will all play; the first four will definitely play altogether.”

“We have to mix it up and we will do that because none of these guys, especially after a long injury, should now then play all the time three games a week. We need to find a way to get used to that, but for this game today there was no chance to change anything from last week because you needed to be used to each other to face this Burnley team. It’s really special, really specific, and very aggressive and, as I said, with the new idea – let the game flow – it makes it not easier. It is the situation, it was a tough game, an intense game, and how it always is against Burnley. We won it, it was not always like this, but sometimes as well, so let’s just keep going.”

Before the game started, there was a moving tribute – in their first home game of the season – to the former players, management staff, directors, and fans who have died in the 17 months.

Ray Clemence, Ian St John, and Gerard Houllier were among those remembered and celebrated as the Kop raised a “97” mosaic in memory of Andrew Devine, the 97th person unlawfully killed as a result of the Hillsborough disaster, who died recently having been cared for by his devoted family for 32 years.

As the match started, Naby Keita shrugged off his underwhelming performance in the previous seasons and dished out a sharp and creative performance. He found a pocket of space on the left for Tsimikas, who produced a razor-sharp cross at the heart of Burnley penalty arena where Jota darted in front of Ben Mee and headed beyond Nick Pope.

Elliot gave a piercing pass to Mohamed Salah, who scored but it was disallowed by VAR and then Mane volleyed over TAA’s chip.

Burnley had their opportunities, but Alisson was at his best and won the serial battles with enough composure.

Liverpool improved as the game progressed and the second goal arrived when Van Dijk sprayed a ball out to Elliott, who found TAA and flicked a first-time pass to Mane who scored his first goal of the season for Liverpool.

“Everybody was really looking forward to this football festival, to this game, and I think nobody leaves this place today with any kind of a disappointment because I think all of our dreams were fulfilled today, atmosphere-wise. That was, for sure, the best 12.30 pm atmosphere we had. It was pretty special, really special. How the game was as well, pretty special, because Burnley are Burnley – and Burnley cause you problems. And Burnley caused us problems,” said Klopp.


“Obviously, the new idea about football, let the game flow more or whatever, I think we will talk about that quite frequently over the year, but we won the game. We played a good game, we scored two, could have scored more. Yes, needed Ali in moments as well, even when the best save he had was offside before, but it was anyway a sensational save.”


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