Returning home in pursuit of their 31st victory of the season saw the Reds forced to settle for sharing the points. Liverpool lost their lead against Burnley in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
A prescient Jurgen Klopp previewed this fixture, calling Burnley a “results machine.” Since the restart, Burnley have performed with particular pluckiness away from home, which was the case on Merseyside.
Liverpool dominated early, creating plenty of chances but unable to convert and make them count. Sean Dyche’s demanding and disciplined approach was on full display as the Reds required patience to break down the visitors.
When Liverpool did pick up the pace and began parting Burnley’s defence they ran into Nick Pope riding a rich vein of form. There were moments when the Reds ramped up their final third fluidity only to fail in the finishing.
Eventually, Andrew Robertson took the lead for Liverpool with a beautiful headed goal but they should have been two or three goals clear by the half.
Letting Burnley linger in the match cost the Reds dearly. Burnley capitalized on a free-kick after the second drinks break. With Liverpool unable to punish the visitors, Burnley scented an opportunity to steal a win. In fact, both sides spurned a late chance to take all three points in the final moments.
The draw meant Liverpool lost the chance to be the first club to win every home match but the title remains theirs.
Here are four findings from the match.
Make no mistake, Liverpool absolutely peppered Nick Pope in Burnley’s goal. If not for the league leading keeper, the Reds would have been well clear of the visiting Clarets.
Especially in the first half, Liverpool’s attackers took turns testing Burnley’s keeper.
Pope made eight saves and three were of the world-class, match-saving quality. He followed up an impressive performance midweek with an even more magnificent display.
Pushing away shots from both Mo Salah and Sadio Mané in side the box hinted would take something something special to beat Pope on the day.
Andrew Robertson has struggled a bit since the restart, been rested, and reinstalled. Against Burnley, he was back to his usual standard and looked refreshed.
Paired with young Neco Williams on the right side with a more conservative role, Robertson surged forward with even greater freedom and was heavily involved in the Reds attack.
The Scot also took the majority of corner kicks and found fortune when taking one from the opposite side. After sending a corner into the box, the fullback remained lively in the sequence of play and finished with a spectacular headed goal.
It was the much-needed breakthrough the Reds needed. His tireless work-rate also should have earned a late penalty.
As immense as Nick Pope proved to be in the away side’s goal, Liverpool’s finishing languished once again. Not for the first time since the restart, the Reds struggled in front of goal. Plenty of chances went wanting.
While there were more than a couple of exceptional saves, Liverpool lacked the ruthless cutting edge that has proved more uneven lately.
Curtis Jones alone, who did not look at all out of place in the starting lineup, missed quality chances. Roberto Firmino who has not scored at home all season, beat Pope only to find the post instead of the net.
Even Mo Salah’s finishing seemed to wane the longer the match extended, missing a potential winner in the final seconds.
Liverpool dropped points for the first time in over a year and a half, as well as losing the chance to become the first club to win every home match in a season.
This was not so much a case of Liverpool plying poorly as much as an inability to completely break Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s side remained dogged throughout the contest, as expected. However, when Jay Rodriguez levelled with an exceptional finish, Burnley were emboldened far beyond a side that had the ball less than a third of the time.
The Clarets even had a chance to steal a victory late when they hit the crossbar. Yet, Burnley’s goalkeeper made the difference, maybe even getting into the Red’s head a bit.