Dyche gratitude at gifted points
TALK about shooting yourself in the foot when precious points mean life or death in the Premier League.
Burnley didn’t have one shot on target in the whole 90-plus minutes of this basement battle but still came out winners to climb nervously and narrowly away from the danger zone.
Own goals from Joe Bryan and Denis Odoi put Sean Dyche’s men on track for victory after Andre Schurrle had opened the scoring with a scorcher to give Fulham an early lead at a ground where their last win in the top flight was back in 1951.
Burnley couldn’t believe their luck in recording their third successive league win.
But Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri, whose team are yet to win away this season, said: “We never give up.”
Burnley boss Dyche said: “It’s strange we didn’t have a shot on
Burnley 2 Fulham 1 Steve Millar
target but you have got to find a way to win.
“I think that’s the pleasing thing to win games which are really tight.
“I can understand Claudio’s frustrations but I don’t think they asked that many questions.”
MO SALAH twisted and turned inside the box, tormenting his marker, and when he was about to shoot his bright red Liverpool shirt was tugged back and the match was won.
The Premier League leaders had a penalty, Salah lashed it joyously into the net, and they had bounded to another victory that restored a seven-point gap at the top of the table.
On this moment may the destiny of the title be decided.
It was a clear penalty, a gift from an otherwise resolute Brighton team in front of a record crowd at their atmospheric Amex Stadium.
Why did Pascal Gross pull the shirt of Salah? Only he knows, but it was pure folly.
Some observers, and certainly the noisy home fans, reckoned Salah had made a meal of the incident – that it was another case of deception or simulation.
This simply isn’t true. The referee’s decision was correct.
“It was a definite penalty and it’s a big three points for us,” said Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. “We were expecting it to be tough because Brighton make it difficult at home and are defensively organised. We had to keep our patience to get the win.”
Liverpool were not at their best in this game. They looked more than a little nervous in possession after two successive defeats; and they played with caution in a match they dared not lose rather than approach it in their usual rampaging fashion.
Perhaps that was understandable – but perhaps they also paid too much respect to a Brighton side who were always going to defend for their lives.
Brighton’s strategy was certainly organised and effective in the
BRIGHTON ........... 0 LIVERPOOL .......... 1
opening period, closing down space ruthlessly in midfield to strangle the talents of Liverpool.
It made the home side tough to pass through with the ball on the ground, while the Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk combination in central defence dealt formidably with any aerial threat.
Seriously good play was required from the Premier League leaders, and they found it just once before the break in the 26th minute.
Andy Robertson linked deftly with Sadio Mane on the left and the ball was swiftly transferred to the right flank. Trent AlexanderArnold delivered a perfect cross but Xherdan Shaqiri headed the chance just wide of the far post.
Down on the touchline Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp shook his arms in frustration.
Brighton broke forward only on rare counter-attacks, striker Glenn Murray heading well over the bar from his one fleeting opportunity.
Klopp sprinted down the tunnel as the half-time whistle sounded. He had a stern message to bellow and clever ideas to impart – and his winning combination of charisma and intelligence had instant reward.