One of five three o’clock kick offs on Saturday afternoon will see Liverpool travel to Turf Moor as Burnley try to inflict their first league victory over the Reds since 1974. Sean Dyche and his men will have to be at their defensive best to ensure that Liverpool don’t reproduce their goal scoring form of last weekend, but will be helped in that regard with the signing of defensive midfielder Steven Defour. For Jurgen Klopp, his team will be keen to show the consistency which deserted them last season as they hope to mount a title challenge after a vital victory at the Emirates last weekend.
There were contrasting emotions, and results for these two teams as their seasons kicked off last weekend. Burnley suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Swansea, Leroy Fer scoring the winner in the 82nd minute, while Liverpool produced arguably the performance of the weekend, blowing Arsenal away in a 4-3 victory.
In pre-season, Burnley went unbeaten, beating the likes of Rangers, Bolton and Bradford, and notching impressive draws with Real Sociedad and Stade Nyonnais, whilst a slightly less impressive draw took place at Morecambe. Dyche will be hoping to avoid a repeat of 2014/15 when the Clarets failed to win a Premier League game until October.
Liverpool will be buoyed by last weekend’s result and an impressive 4-0 demolition job of Barcelona only a week before. That said, they had a mixed pre-season, featuring a defeat against Premier League opposition in the form of Chelsea. Even last weekend, the Reds produced a mixed display with a quiet first half followed by some sensational attacking football, and then defensive calamities. Which Liverpool teams turns up at Turf Moor remains to be seen.
Burnley predicted starting XI Liverpool predicted starting XI
Burnley are expected to stay largely the same as last weekend’s defeat, with a debut for Belgian midfielder Steven Defour expected in place of David Jones in the middle after the 28-year-old signed a three year contract this week. Elsewhere, Scott Arfield’s place may be at threat by Johann Gudmundsson, but Dyche is expected to retain faith in most of the side that were narrowly beaten last weekend.
Liverpool are also expected to make very few changes. Jurgen Klopp is expected to address last weekend’s defensive frailties by replacing Alberto Moreno with James Milner as he returns from injury and Emre Can will return in midfield to add some defensive bite, with Georgino Wijnaldum the likely victim. Daniel Sturridge is also likely to return, but it is unlikely that Klopp would drop any of last week’s attacking trio who performed superbly.
Burnley will be without their new loan signing Jon Flanagan against his parent club, and will also miss their forward Ashley Barnes who remains out of action with a hamstring strain picked up in pre-season. There are no other key suspensions or injuries for Sean Dyche to deal with.
For Liverpool, there was a massive blow on Wednesday as the scorer of last weekend’s winning goal, Sadio Mane, was rushed to hospital with a serious should injury and no indication of whether he will be available on Saturday or not. James Milner is expected to return from injury having missed the season opener at Arsenal with a foot injury. Daniel Sturridge is also expected to return from a hip problem, with Klopp opting not to risk the England forward last weekend. Elsewhere, new signing Loris Karius will miss out due to a broken hand, whilst Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez and Lucas Leiva all miss out with long term injuries.
After Liverpool’s devastating attacking display at the Emirates last weekend, it is hard to look past a Liverpool win. Burnley will look to take advantage of their defensive frailties to steal a lead and then defend well, but that will be tough against one of the most effective and deadly attacking line-ups in the league.