Liverpool 4-2 Burnley: Rampant Reds run riot to keep within a point of leaders City 
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Liverpool 4-2 Burnley: Rampant Reds run riot to keep within a point of leaders City 

Liverpool remain firmly on course in terms of their title charge as the Reds put four past Burnley to close the gap at the top to just one point.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr
liverpool-fcAlisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Lallana,, Salah, Firmino
burnley-fcHeaton, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood
SCORE0-1, Min.6, Westwood, 1-1, Min.19, Firmino, 2-1, Min.28, Mane, 3-1, Min.67, Mane, 3-2, Min.90+1, Gudmundsson, 4-2, Min.90+3, Mane
INCIDENTSPREMIER LEAGUE MATCHWEEK 30 CLASH BETWEEN LIVERPOOL AND BURNLEY AT ANFIELD

If there was one thing to be learnt today on an afternoon where the weather was more chaotic than the football, it was that arguably, the best title race in recent years is going to go down to the very wire. 

For the first time since December 7 Liverpool found themselves playing catch-up in the title race having played the same number of games as Manchester City

However, despite an early scare, the rampant Reds exuded total control and authority to close the gap with Pep Guardiola's champions to a point as Liverpool secured only their third victory in their previous seven league matches. 

A controversial Ashley Westwood strike straight from a corner opened the scoring inside six minutes before Liverpool flew into life courtesy of braces from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Jürgen Klopp spoke before the game that manager and players alike cannot alter their approach and that the team could not afford to falter against a Burnley side who, since beating Tottenham, had lost their previous two games.

The story of the game 

Anfield strengthens confidence even at the most crucial period of the season and the home support was once again outstanding as the momentum at the top shifted as Liverpool began the afternoon as the chasers rather than the chased.

The Reds were playing catch-up with the champions for the first time in 2019 and the task seemed to take its toll in the opening minutes. 

Anfield beckoned and reverberated noise as You'll Never Walk Alone ringed around the stadium in the build-up to kick-off. An atmosphere that was intended to lift instead was met with panic as Liverpool were reckless in the opening exchanges.

Six minutes in and already Liverpool's mentality was being called into question. Joel Matip needlessly gave away a careless corner before Westwood swung in a right-footed corner that curled straight in off the far-post beyond Alisson Becker who was impeded by both Jack Cork and James Tarkowski.

The Brazilian protested with zest (and rightly so) as the Liverpool shot-stopper was clearly fouled as Andry Marriner was met with screams from Alisson for not spotting the incident but the official was having none of it and put the Reds keeper in the book.

In truth, going behind proved to be the best thing that could have happened to Liverpool as the goal jolted the hosts into life. The manager and the crowd immediately got the players into gear and there were some exceptional performances following Westwood's early strike.

Adam Lallana - who started his first league game since January - typified the Reds resurgence flying into tackles whilst his elegant hold-up play was the catalyst for a number of Liverpool attacks.

It took 13 minutes before the Reds were back on level terms and in truth, the outcome felt inevitable from then on. Gini Wijnaldum found Mohamed Salah on the right as the Egyptian pounced towards the byline before pulling a cut-back across goal that was met with utter panic by the visitors.

Tom Heaton and Tarkowski never looked in control of the scenario and the two fluffed at Salah's pass before Firmino was lurking to tuck home into an empty net. 

It was the Brazilian's 10th league goal of the season as Liverpool became the first team this season to have three players reach double figures in terms of goals in the league.

If City needed a stroke of luck yesterday to get off the mark then the same can be applied to Liverpool although the Reds never should have fallen behind in the first place.

Anfield felt the shift in momentum and rallied their team together with a wave of noise. Nine minutes later the hosts were ahead and they were looking more voracious than ever. 

Once again, it was Lallana who epitomised Liverpool's dominance as the Englishman hounded down Jack Cork and threw himself to make a crucial block that fell into the path of Salah just shy of the six-yard box. 

Salah hit the deck after appealing to have been fouled by Tarkowski before the ball fell to the Red's man of the moment Mane who curled home his 15th league goal of the season.

The home crowd understood the importance of Mane's six consecutive Anfield goal in the league as the Senegalese ace became only the fifth player to have scored in six consecutive Premier League appearances joining the hallmark of fame with the likes of Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Salah. 

Sean Dyche - on more than one occasion - was left exasperated on the sideline with a number of the referees calls as the Englishman barked into the ear of the fourth official Mike Dean.

Klopp spoke about the wind against Everton last weekend and it had an effect today as well when Virgil van Dijk unleashed a delightful 60-yard pass that flew across the field before ludicrously spinning back five yards eluding both Charlie Taylor and Salah.

The imperious Van Dijk once again delivered an emphatic display in the art of defending as the Dutch captain personified how effortless a game of football can look to the most gifted of players as he brushed Ashley Barnes aside with total ease and authority. Man against boy.

Lallana continued to hound the ball back for the hosts and ignited another Liverpool attack lofting a ball into Firmino's path before Salah curled a shot just over.

The Englishman's efforts were duly noted by the Anfield faithful who gave Lallana a standing ovation to cap off a stunning display that was reminiscent of the performances the 30-year-old was putting week-in-week-out only a couple of seasons ago.

The match was effectively wrapped up when Heaton's awful kick fell to Salah who darted towards the Burnley goal before being cynically fouled by Jeff Hendrick who hacked the Reds winger down where Firmino was lurking to sweep in and tap home. 

Firmino's second of the match meant that the Brazilian has now been involved in 100 goals for Klopp (scoring 63 and assisting 37).

The rout should have been completed eight minutes from time when Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped a venomous cross into the path of Mane who failed to connect properly and was denied by the top of the crossbar. 

The visitors were able to grab a late consolation strike through substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson before Mane minutes later rounded Heaton to grab his second of the match and his 16th league strike of the season placing him level with Arsenal's Pierre Emerick-Aubamayang.

The win ensured Liverpool remain unbeaten in their last 36 Premier League home games (W25 D10) to join level with Manchester United's tally expanding from 1998-2000. Only Chelsea (86 games between March 2004-October 2008) and Man City (37 between December 2010-December 2012) remain above the Reds in terms of an impenetrable recent home record.

Takeaways from the match

Forwards rekindle their attacking mojo

Liverpool's forward line has come under severe scrutiny in recent weeks with three goalless stalemates in the Reds last four matches.

However, any doubts were swiftly put to bed as two of Liverpool's outstanding triumvirate were on the scoresheet to ensure the Reds returned within touching distance on City.

Braces from Mane and Firmino ensured Liverpool became the first team to have three of their players reach double figures for the season.

 

 

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