Liverpool 2-0 Burnley: Jota and Mane fire Liverpool to top of the pile
(Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Liverpool overcame a determined Burnley side to secure a 2-0 victory in Saturday's lunchtime fixture and go top of the Premier League.

It was 528 days since the Reds took to the field with the backdrop of a capacity home crowd, having lost their 68-game home unbeaten run to their opponents back in January in the meantime- on this occasion nonetheless, Liverpool didn't disappoint. 

Diogo Jota was able to head home from Kostas Tsimikas' cross for his second of the season, going into the break with the lead in tact despite Burnley's best efforts.

Liverpool's endeavour for a victory paid off as the decisive goal arrived via Sadio Mane's emphatic finish to round of an excellent team move and all but conclude proceedings.

  • The story of the match

Far from the swashbuckling opening fans would have hoped for at Anfield, early positives of strong ball carrying and progression up the park were a theme throughout the first period, as one would expect with a midfield consisting of Harvey Elliott, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.

Despite the previous passage of play being waved off for offside, signs of a threat from Burnley arrived in the form of Dwight McNeil's strike thundering against the post and away from goal. 

Chris Wood got on the end of a McNeil cross to force a near point-blank save from Alisson Becker, with Jota racing up the field to do the same after the Reds won back possession, albeit with contrasting fortunes.

The Portuguese assumed position in front of Ben Mee to glance on a whipped ball from Kostas Tsimikas and past Nick Pope to give his team the advantage just shy off 20 minutes on the clock.

On an afternoon where a brace would have taken Mo Salah to a century of Premier League goals, the Egyptian looked to have put a dent in the hopes of Sean Dyche's side after smartly tucking away Elliott's incisive threaded pass, only to be narrowly, yet correctly, overturned for offside. 

Strike partner Sadio Mane then had a chance to double the lead after getting on the end of a gorgeously-weighted ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold, typical of the right back, only for Mane to volley over the bar.

Alisson faced the brunt of a stark reminder that the visitors were still present in the game just before the break, as James Tarkowski met a set piece on the edge of the 18-yard area, heading wide and colliding with the 'keeper in the process. 

Quick feet from Matt Lowton to evade both Diogo Jota and Jordan Henderson preceded the afternoon's second rescinded goal, with Ashley Barnes finishing the former's cross from an offside position just after half time. 

Mo Salah came closest to addressing the burning pursuit of a two-goal cushion, comfortably controlling Elliott's cross only for his subsequent effort to be cleared off the line by Dwight McNeil. 

Indeed Mane could have found his corresponding winger when Salah was in space soon after, instead electing to force a save out of Pope as the Reds dialled up the pressure, retaining a peak ball possession of 92% from 60-65 mins. 

Liverpool finally rewarded the home crowd with some vintage play for the long-awaited second of the afternoon, spawning from a sweeping Virgil van Dijk cross-field pass to find Elliott in space.

The young prodigy controlled the ball well and found a foraying Alexander-Arnold further infield, who lofted the ball into the path of Sadio Mane to inflict a vicious strike into the Anfield Road end net. 

Substitute Jay Rodriguez forced an impressive block from van Dijk with the Dutchman remaining resolute in the box, just as he had in the first half against Ashley Barnes. 

Late cameos from Thiago Alcantara and Roberto Firmino served up if nothing else a stark reminder that there is more depth at the disposal of Jurgen Klopp than meets the eye as the Reds extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 12 games. 

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Making his return to the starting lineup for the first time since February 5th, Henderson took the place at the base of Liverpool's midfield in place of Fabinho, who missed out against Burnley due to tragic personal circumstances with the passing of his father. 

Amongst some other standout performances, most notably the likes of Harvey Elliott and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Henderson remained a vital cog in the Liverpool system as his team sit atop of the Premier League, albeit possibly for only a few hours. 

Perhaps not the sweeping defensive presence in front of Liverpool's centre-backs that Fabinho is, Henderson made himself available to drop deep and progress play forwards into midfield that aided in Klopp's men to incrementally grow into the game. 

Starting his tenth season in Liverpool red this afternoon, Henderson completed the most passes in the match (66) with a 90% success rate, accompanied with six accurate long balls and ball recoveries each.

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