Liverpool vs Burnley preview: Form guide, team news, past meetings, who and how to watch
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Kevin Long of Burnley puts pressure on Roberto Firmino of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield on July 11, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Champions Liverpool have taken just three points from their last four Premier League games and have failed to score in three consecutive matches. Sadio Mané's twelfth-minute strike against West Bromwich Albion was the last time they found the back of the net in the league - all the way back on 27th December.

If Jürgen Klopp's men fail to register against Burnley, it will be the first time the club hasn't scored for four consecutive league matches in twenty-one years.

After Leicester, Manchester City and Manchester United - the three teams above the Reds in the league - all won earlier in midweek, Thursday's hosts need to break their barren spell in order to keep pace at the top.

Burnley go into the game in similar form. Having scraped past MK Dons on penalties in the FA Cup, two 1-0 defeats against Man United and West Ham leave the Lancashire club just four points above the relegation zone.

The Clarets, however, were the only team to leave Anfield undefeated last season courtesy of Jay Rodriguez's equaliser and, given that Liverpool have dropped a lot of points against teams fighting relegation so far this season, they should be quietly confident.

  • Team news

Liverpool are expected to have Joel Matip back in central defence. The big German was sorely missed in the 0-0 draw against Man United at the weekend and his return would see captain Jordan Henderson put back into the midfield three.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain recovered from his latest long-term injury recently and, having made the bench in the past few weeks, could be in contention to start as Klopp looks to re-energise his team.

Naby Keita and Diogo Jota remain sidelined and will do for a few weeks yet and, given the frailties in the squad, it is surprising that Klopp will seemingly not do any business in the transfer window.

Sean Dyche's warriors could be boosted by Charlie Taylor's return to the frontline. The left-back hasn't featured since the important win against Sheffield United on 29 December after suffering a hamstring injury in the game.

Jimmy Dunne will be assessed for a minor injury, but isn't likely to feature, while Bailey Peacock-Farrell has been self-isolating and is therefore unavailable.

Dwight McNeil is also pressing for a prominent role against the Reds following his recent return to action. McNeil missed two games with a groin problem before returning as a substitute against Man United just over a week ago.

  • Previous meetings

Ironically, both teams played better away from home last season.

Liverpool put in a stunning performance to make Turf Moor their happy place with a 3-0 win in which Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino scored, but Burnley held firm after falling behind in the reverse fixture. The 1-1 draw between the two sides was the only home game that the Reds failed to win last season.

Liverpool won 3-1 away in 2018/19 as Firmino was on the scoresheet again, this time alongside James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri after Jack Cork had given Burnley the lead.

The Clarets again took the lead in the second 2018/19 meeting, this time through Ashley Westwood's sixth-minute opener, but Mané and Firmino both proved too much to handle once more as both men netted twice. Jóhann Gudmundsson got Burnley's second in a 4-2 defeat at Anfield.

  • Players to watch

Given their track record against Dyche's side, Firmino and Mané must be favourites to break Liverpool's scoreless run, but Mohammed Salah has often been the one to carve the backline open for his teammates to finish, so the Egyptian should not be overlooked.

Neither should Chris Wood for Burnley, though, and it will be interesting to see if he and Ashley Barnes target Fabinho with the Brazilian continuing to fill in at centre-half.

Josh Brownhill has also gone under the radar since joining the club and the ex-Bristol City midfielder will have a key role to play in stopping the world-class talents of Thiago AlcantaraGeorginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson from dictating play in midfield. 

  • How to watch

The game kicks off at 20:00 (GMT) and will be broadcasted live on Sky Sports' Premier League and Main Event channels in the UK.

  • What the managers had to say

In his pre-match press conference, Jürgen Klopp was asked about which teams he believes are in the title race:

"It changes all the time because it is so close. We have known this for a few weeks now and it makes it a very different title race this year.

"We have to ready 100% constantly and that is what we try to do. In this business, only results count and results only come from performances. 

"Our last performance was really good, but we didn't win and now we have the opportunity to change that."

Sean Dyche also spoke to the press ahead of the game and  gave an update on his squad's fitness.

“We are just about there. There are a couple we are getting news on for the game but generally we are just about there. There’s certainly nothing serious at the moment and long may that continue.

"Charlie Taylor in back in contention. We gave him a few extra days' recovery so he's definitely in the thinking.

“We’ve been slightly more cautious with Dwight [McNeil] because it’s the first main injury I’ve known him have,” added Dyche.

“He came on and did a very nice job for us at West Ham. He delivered a good half, so he is certainly an option.”

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