The Reds will be out for revenge against the Clarets who put an end to their 68-match unbeaten run at home back in January. Ashley Barnes’ late goal from the spot meant that Sean Dyche’s side started Jürgen Klopp’s teams’ decline in form that saw them surrender the Premier League trophy to Manchester City rather toothlessly.
Even though the Reds went on to lose six Premier League games in a row at Anfield, they turned their ship around at the time to finish third in the league last season. The Reds picked up from where they left and started the new season on a positive note – defeating Norwich City 3-0 at Carrow Road in the first game week.
Goals from Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah secured the inaugural three points for the season, and they will be looking to make it two out of two when they meet Burnley – who had a very contrasting start to their season last weekend.
After finishing 17th in the league last season, the Lancashire outfit got off to a bright start this term as James Tarkowski’s early goal sent them ahead at Turf Moor in the first match of their season. But it was not to be for Sean Dyche’s men as quick-fire late goals from Neil Maupay and Alexis Mac Allister meant that the Clarets slumped to a defeat at home – a demoralizing way to kick the new season off.
Narrowly escaping the drop to the Championship last season, Burnley would fight tooth and nail to preserve their top-flight status this season – and they would love to cause another upset against the odds at Anfield, and open their account for the new season.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Assistant Referees: Darren Cann and Mark Scholes.
Video Assistant Referees: Stuart Atwell and Dan Cook.
Fourth Official: Andy Madley.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Date: Saturday, August 21, 2021.
Time: 12:30 pm BST.
Liverpool were presented with a much-needed boost ahead of the coming season when long-term absentees such as Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip returned to glancing up in the tunnel against Norwich. Joe Gomez was also eligible after being pronounced fit, while their £35m summer signing Ibrahima Konaté accompanied Gomez on the bench.
Andy Robertson will miss the Burnley encounter owing to an ankle ligament injury, which means that Kostas Tsikimas is set to get his second Premier League start in a row. Liverpool are set to get another triple injury boost as Curtis Jones is likely to be back in action after a head injury, while Jordan Henderson and Thiago will also be in contention after they featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Sunday.
As for their opponents on Saturday, midfielder Dale Stephens and defender Kevin Long are the only long-term absentees at the moment. The Clarets have had a quiet summer where they have only roped in the likes of Wayne Hennessey and Nathan Collins, as Sean Dyche started the sixth consecutive season with a familiar squad – one that has not seen a lot of reinforcements over the years.
Can Klopp break the low-block?
Liverpool were up and running from the first whistle in their opening day encounter, as they simply looked too strong for the newly promoted Canaries. Even though the Merseyside outfit finished third and 17 points adrift of champions Manchester City in what ended up being a feeble title defence last season, they showed no signs of any hangover and went straight to business as usual.
The returns of influential figures in van Dijk, Matip, and Gomez gave a much-needed boost to Klopp and his men, and they will likely have too much firepower in store for their opponents on Saturday. But unlike Norwich City who tries to overpower opponents with their transitional play, Burnley are a team that characteristically defend deep – and Liverpool’s chief creators will need to be at their very best to break them down. The Clarets will try and hit hard on the counter – and it would not be a surprise to see them target the Reds’ depleted left flank.
MOHAMED SALAH – Liverpool:
Mo Salah scored on the opening day of the Premier League season for the fifth season running, and he would be looking to add more goals to his tally against Burnley.
Not only is the Egyptian the Reds’ chief goal-scoring outlet in front of goal, but he is also their best creative influence – as underlined by the fact that he also recorded two assists in the opening game.
Liverpool’s talismanic Red will be hoping to make his mark once again, in front of the returning Liverpool supporters at Anfield who will be in full voice – singing on for their Egyptian king running down the wing.
ASHLEY BARNES – Burnley:
Ashley Barnes has been Burnley’s talisman in their last five seasons in the Premier League, and it was the Englishman himself who scored the winner from the spot when the Clarets brought an end to Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten run at Anfield last season. He will be looking to replicate his heroics once again at the Merseyside fortress on Saturday and is likely to receive a hostile reception at an Anfield that will be packed to the rafters.
Liverpool: Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas; Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita; Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mané.
Burnley: Nick Pope; Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor; Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil; Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood.