Preview: Liverpool vs. Burnley - prediction, team news, lineups
20/08/2021 14:13:20

Having posted contrasting results on the opening weekend of the 2021-22 Premier League season, Liverpool and Burnley face off in gameweek two in front of the Anfield faithful on Saturday lunchtime (12:30PM, 20 Aug).


Jurgen Klopp's side eased to a routine 3-0 victory at Norwich City last weekend, whereas the Clarets were sunk 2-1 by Brighton & Hove Albion on home soil.


Match preview


The customary opening day goal from Mohamed Salah capped off a record-breaking performance from the Egyptian at Carrow Road, as the Liverpool man curled in a delightful effort to put the game to bed against Norwich after setting up Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino's earlier strikes.


In doing so, Salah became the first player in Premier League history to score on the opening day five seasons in a row, and with rumours of a new deal which would represent the most expensive in the Reds' history circulating, the 29-year-old has certainly proven that he deserves the bumper package.


After 90 minutes of action, the Premier League table has a very retro feel to it - Manchester United at the top, Chelsea second and Liverpool third - but with key players returning from injury layoffs and plenty more committing their futures to the club, Klopp's men are making statements both off and on the field.


Picking up from where they left off last season, Liverpool's emphatic win over Norwich stretched their unbeaten run in the top flight to 11 games and extended their winning run to six games - the last three of which have seen the 2019-20 champions keep clean sheets.


Liverpool's six-game losing run at home shocked fans and neutrals to the core, but they gleaned 10 points from the last 12 on offer at Anfield last term and have not lost their first home game of the season since the 2003-04 campaign against Chelsea, whom they will do battle with on Merseyside in gameweek three.


Burnley also picked up where they left off last season, but Sean Dyche's men did not have anything to write home about, as Brighton came from behind to claim an opening-day 2-1 success in front of the returning Turf Moor crowd.


James Tarkowski took all of two minutes to brush aside Neal Maupay and head the hosts in front, but after rattling the woodwork twice and squandering bountiful opportunities to add to their lead, Dyche's men paid the price.


An inspired substitution from Graham Potter saw Jakub Moder lay the ball on a plate for Maupay to score the equaliser after being introduced mere seconds beforehand, and another substitute in Alexis Mac Allister fired home with 78 minutes on the clock to condemn Burnley to their fourth league defeat in succession.


Unlike their three end-of-season defeats last term, Dyche's side did actually manage to make the net ripple this time around, but they are now at risk of losing five Premier League games in a row for the first time ever as another inevitable battle to avoid the drop looms.


Dyche's side famously ended Liverpool's 68-game unbeaten league run at home with a 1-0 win last season, and they claimed a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the 2019-20 campaign, but the Reds eased to a 3-0 success at Turf Moor during the final stages of the 2020-21 season.


Team News


Liverpool lynchpins Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson are slowly building up their match fitness and reportedly featured in a friendly against Aston Villa last weekend, so Klopp should have both men available for selection here.


Curtis Jones is also expected to make a return after concussion, while Fabinho had to make do with a substitute outing at Carrow Road but ought to return here, potentially in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.


Kostas Tsimikas will continue at left-back while Andy Robertson battles back from ankle ligament damage, while Jota will aspire to hold his place up top over Firmino after both men opened their accounts for the season last week, but the Brazilian boasts five goals from his last six games against the Clarets.


Burnley duo Dale Stephens (ankle) and Kevin Long (calf) both remain unavailable after going under the knife for their respective injuries, but Dyche is otherwise well-stocked for the trip to Anfield.


Ashley Barnes famously scored the winner which condemned Liverpool to their first home defeat since April 2017 last term, but he is fighting an uphill battle to displace Jay Rodriguez or Chris Wood up front.


New arrival Nathan Collins watched on from the bench against Brighton and will also have to wait his turn, with Tarkowski and Ben Mee resuming their long-lasting partnership.


Liverpool possible starting lineup:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Keita, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane


Burnley possible starting lineup:

Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Rodriguez


We say: Liverpool 2-0 Burnley


Burnley certainly have fond memories of their recent trip to Anfield, with their victory on Merseyside marking the start of Liverpool's rut, but lightning is unlikely to strike twice as supporters gather en masse.


Klopp's side have their eyes firmly on the prize this term and will expect to march to a confidence-boosting win before the visit of Chelsea, which is exactly what they should do.


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