Liverpool buoyed by Mane 9/10 and Firmino 8/10 to beat Burnley
LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool ensured the gap to Manchester City at the top of the league remains one point after a 4-2 victory over Burnley on Sunday afternoon.
Liverpool went behind early on as Ashley Westwood scored directly from a corner. However, braces from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane saw Liverpool stick close on the heels of Pep Guardiola's side.
If anything, Burnley's opener appeared to wake up Liverpool. The hosts' response was not one of a team feeling the pressure of a title race in the closing stages. Liverpool and their supporters still believe it is possible to overcome the reigning champions.
Meanwhile, Adam Lallana delivered a timely reminder that there is still life left in his Liverpool career. Social media reaction when the lineup was announced would have made you believe Liverpool were playing with 10 men due to the 30-year-old's inclusion. However, his performance justifiably saw Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri sit on the bench.
For the first time in his Liverpool career, Mohamed Salah has gone five straight games without scoring.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- There was no panic from Jurgen Klopp when Burnley took a surprise lead. The German trusts his players to deliver wholeheartedly -- evidenced with the starting of Lallana -- and though it was not a vintage display, it was enough to pick up a vital three points.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- Picked up a booking for protesting that he was fouled on the corner from which Burnley scored. And it appeared he had a valid argument. After that moment, he was fine but exposed for the second goal.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 -- Plenty of desire to get forward, but his usually excellent delivery was absent for large parts. That said, he should have an assist from a whipped cross that Mane put onto the crossbar.
DF Joel Matip, 5 -- Extremely poor in the buildup to Burnley's goal, needlessly heading the ball behind for a corner when under little pressure.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 -- Captain for the day and led by example, expertly dealing with the physical presence of Burnley's forwards. He also managed to kick the ball out of Anfield with a clearance in the first half, which takes some doing.
DF Andrew Robertson, 6 -- Celebrated his 50th league appearance for Liverpool and turning 25 on Monday with another assured performance.
MF Fabinho, 6 -- The true anchor of Liverpool's midfield three, allowing his partners to advance.
MF Adam Lallana, 8 -- A very impressive 76-minute performance to silence the prematch doubters. The midfielder played a big part in Liverpool's first two goals.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 5 -- A busy presence in a very scrappy game, although his form has dropped off a touch in recent weeks.
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 -- Constantly a threat despite his lack of goals. Roles reversed, he was pretty much provider for both of Firmino's goals.
FW Roberto Firmino, 8 -- In the right place at the right time for his goals. But his all-round contribution to Liverpool's attacking play was superb.
FW Sadio Mane, 9 -- Earning himself a reputation as a clinical goal scorer now. Mane took his tally for the season to 17 as he has now scored in his last six Premier League matches at Anfield.
MF Jordan Henderson (68), 7 -- Incredibly tenacious in the middle of the pitch when he came on.
MF Naby Keita (77), N/R -- A few nice touches.
FW Daniel Sturridge (86), N/R -- Found some pockets of space.