Klopp fumes af­ter Dy­che bat­tlers seen off by cav­alry

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport / Football - By Jim White at Turf Moor

Liver­pool march on, still un­beaten, still breath­ing down Manch­ester City’s ex­pen­sive col­lars, and cre­at­ing records as they go. Vic­tory at Burn­ley meant they have thus far this sea­son de­liv­ered 12 wins and three draws, their best re­turn from the first 15 games in a top-flight sea­son. Though it took the ar­rival of the cav­alry from the bench to main­tain their up­ward mo­men­tum.

Sa­dio Mane and Andy Robert­son were in­jured in the Mersey­side derby and were both ab­sent. Jur­gen Klopp com­pounded the changes by rest­ing Mo­hamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, in­stead lead­ing his line with Divock Origi and Daniel Stur­ridge. The ques­tion was whether Sean Dy­che should have been dis­ap­pointed by the lack of re­spect shown by see­ing a largely sec­ond-string Liver­pool on the team-sheet, or grate­ful for not be­ing obliged to face a shel­lack­ing from the Kop’s mag­i­cal front three.

What­ever the per­son­nel, Dy­che’s tac­tics were straight­for­ward: get in there. They love a slide tackle at Turf Moor and, from the off, there was plenty for the home crowd to cheer. Burn­ley were go­ing in strongly all over the pitch. Joe Gomez be­came an early vic­tim of the rigour of the home tack­ling when he was car­ried off on a stretcher af­ter mix­ing with Ben Mee. Klopp was get­ting ex­er­cised by the Burn­ley ap­proach, bend­ing the ear of Mike Dean, the fourth of­fi­cial, through­out the first half.

“I said to the ref, please, tell them you can­not do that,” the Liver­pool man­ager said af­ter­wards. “The crowd love it, yes, but the play­ers, they are not in con­trol. Some­body needs to tell them not to do it from six or seven yards.” His op­po­site num­ber, who had ex­changed heated words with a still in­censed Klopp at the fi­nal whis­tle, was dis­mis­sive of such con­cerns. “There were some ex­cel­lent chal­lenges tonight; real chal­lenges,” said Dy­che.

For a while the old-school Burn­ley way proved ef­fec­tive, con­tain­ing free­wheel­ing op­po­nents. The best Liver­pool could man­age in the first half was when Al­berto Moreno fired over af­ter be­ing set up by James Mil­ner and Vir­gil van Dijk headed into Joe Hart’s midriff from a cor­ner. Stur­ridge and Origi were hardly storm­ing in their rare mo­ment in the sun. Klopp blamed rusti­ness in his re­serves. The vis­it­ing fans, though, were be­gin­ning to won­der if his line-up had un­der-es­ti­mated the Burn­ley chal­lenge.

But the point about Klopp’s Liver­pool is that they can call on more than just a bit of at­tack­ing dash. Thanks to the totemic Van Dijk con­trol­ling things in the cen­tre of their back­line, they gave lit­tle to their hosts. There was a telling mo­ment early on when Ash­ley Barnes caught Van Dijk nap­ping in posses­sion and whipped the ball off his toes. The Burn­ley striker had barely taken a cou­ple of paces goal­wards be­fore he found him­self com­pletely out­paced as the fly­ing Dutch­man over­took him to re­claim the ball.

Even when Burn­ley got the ball in the net, via a smart fin­ish by Barnes from Rob­bie Brady’s free­kick, the as­sis­tant had his flag raised. With Van Dijk con­duct­ing the charge, this Liver­pool know how to con­struct an off­side trap.

As the sec­ond half be­gan, the away fans were won­der­ing when grown-up re­in­force­ments might ar­rive from their bench. The need be­came es­pe­cially press­ing when, af­ter a scram­ble from a Burn­ley cor­ner, goal­keeper Alis­son, treat­ing the ball as if it were smeared in but­ter, failed to hold James Tarkowski’s header. The Brazil­ian then tried to flick the ball away from Barnes but only suc­ceeded in skew­ing it to Jack Cork, who hit it home. A strike un­likely to make any­one’s desert is­land goals, per­haps, but the roar of re­lief around the ground was sig­nif­i­cant.

It was now a mat­ter of keep­ing Liver­pool out. But the home team’s rear­guard lasted all of eight min­utes be­fore Mil­ner, set up by a clever pass from Origi, hit a shot from the edge of the area into the cor­ner. Par­ity was re­stored but the pes­simistic sense now grip­ping the stands was that it could not last.

At this point Klopp re­alised if the jugu­lar were to be sought, he needed ex­per­tise. He sent on Salah and Firmino to in­ject ex­tra zest into ev­ery Liver­pool move. The in­evitable came just four min­utes af­ter the pair’s in­tro­duc­tion when Trent Alexan­der-arnold played a free-kick be­hind the Burn­ley line. The ball found Van Dijk – as imperious in at­tack as in de­fence – drift­ing for­ward to scoop a per­fect pass back to Firmino, who, with his first touch, side­footed into the net. Burn­ley tried to re­spond, hurl­ing ev­ery­thing at Alis­son’s goal, but when Xher­dan Shaqiri added a third in in­jury time, it only put ap­pro­pri­ate gloss on the score­line to leave the hosts lan­guish­ing in the bot­tom three.


(4-4-2) Hart 6; Bard­s­ley 6, Tarkowski 6, Mee 6, Tay­lor 6; West­wood 7, Gud­munds­son 6, Cork 7, Brady 6 (Len­non 71); Barnes 6 (Vy­dra 83), Wood 5 (Vokes 71). Subs Heaton (g), Low­ton, Hen­drick, Long. Booked Vy­dra.

Liver­pool (4-3-3) Alis­son 5; Gomez 5 (Alexan­der-arnold 23), Matip 6, Van Dijk 7, Moreno 6 (Salah 65); Hen­der­son 6, Keita 7, Mil­ner 6; Shaqiri 7, Stur­ridge 5, Origi 5 (Firmino 66). Subs Mig­no­let (g), Fabinho, Lal­lana, Ca­ma­cho.

Ref­eree Stu­art At­twell (War­wick­shire).

Quick im­pres­sion: Sub­sti­tute Roberto Firmino sits on the bench (above right) and then (left) cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing with his first touch of the ball, two min­utes and 55 sec­onds af­ter com­ing on

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