Burnley 0-1 Liverpool: Fabinho strike hands Reds crucial victory
BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13: Fabinho of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor on February 13, 2022 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Fabinho scored the only goal at a miserable Turf Moor to help Liverpool overcome a resilient Burnley side and remain on the coattails of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola in the hunt for the Premier League title.

The Brazilian broke the deadlock five minutes before halftime with a tidy finish from close-range, to ensure Jurgen Klopp's side triumphed in the torrid conditions Lancashire had to offer.

The defeat means Burnley remain at the foot of the table having recorded just one win from their last 24 Premier League games. Meanwhile, the Reds have chipped three points of City's 12-point pre-game gap, taking it down to nine.

The story of the game

Klopp made four changes to the side that beat Leicester City 2-0 on Thursday evening. Sadio Mane - fresh from firing Senegal to their first Africa Cup of Nations triumph - came back into the side alongside fellow finalist Mohamed Salahwho made his return against the Foxes earlier in the week with a strong second half cameo. 

Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara made way for the returning Jordan Henderson - who missed Thursday’s victory with a minor back issue - and Naby Keita.

On Friday the Liverpool boss revealed that he would have a fully fit squad for the first time this season, meaning that competition for places would be at an all-time high. Highlighted by Joe Gomez and Divock Origi’s omission from the squad.

Meanwhile, Burnley made two changes to the side that held Manchester United to a score-draw in midweek, as Aarron Lennon came in for Dwight McNeil - to mark his 400th Premier League appearance - while January addition Wout Weghorst started in attack alongside Jay Rodriguez. 

It was far from a Premier League classic at Turf Moor as the treacherous conditions made it near impossible for either side to cement any sort of authority on the game, with the opening stages representing an end-to-end basketball encounter.

Though, Liverpool did come closest to breaking the deadlock after just six minutes when Salah and Mane - lining up on the same side this weekend - combined down the right. The ball was then spread out wide to Andy Robertson on the left-hand side, and the Scot - on his 150th Premier League appearance for the Reds - fired in a flirtatious cross for the Egyptian to try his luck at but he was unable to poke it in at the far post. 

It would take a handful of misplaced passes before the next chance was carved out for either side, with Fabinho, Joel Matip and Josh Brownhill all the victims of the Lancashire weather.

Brownhill had the first chance for the home side when he tested Alisson from distance with a speculative effort. However, the Brazilian was equal to the hit as he palmed it behind for the first of many Burnley corners.

It was only a few moments later that the Liverpool goalkeeper was forced to uptake a temporary position outfield as the wind continued to cause havoc. A long, hopeful ball was lifted over the Reds’ defence but it was upheld by the weather, meaning Alisson was forced to race Weghorst before clearing it with his head.

Keita was the latest Liverpool player to try his luck when he stung the gloves of Nick Pope with an effort from the edge of the box. The Burnley keeper dropped to his right to see it behind for a corner and keep his early clean sheet intact. 

Immediately following the away side’s corner, the Clarets nearly edged themselves ahead. Weghorst was played through 1-v-1 with Alisson but Matip’s incredible recovery run - on his 150th appearance for the Reds - ensured he was there to clear the goal-bound effort.

The Dutch international was presented with another chance soon after, when his side made full use of their temporary numerical advantage - while Henderson received treatment - to yet again test Alisson. But the Brazilian's imposing stature was enough to smother the effort and keep the game level.

In the absence of Thiago - who was forced to watch the first half from the bench - the Reds lacked control in the middle of the park as Brownhill and Ashley Westwood continued to profit from the game’s frantic nature. 

Further chances fell the way of both sides, as Mane was strongly denied by Pope from inside the box after he had connected cleanly with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick. That was moments before Weghorst spurned his third chance of the afternoon with a feeble first-time attempt.

Klopp’s side eventually took the lead five minutes before the interval as Fabinho was on hand to react to Mane’s near-post flick-on, courtesy of an Alexander-Arnold corner.

The Brazilian’s first attempt was matched by Pope but the midfielder's momentum helped him bundle the ball over the line as he sent the travelling Kop into rapturous.

Burnley continued to ask questions of the Liverpool defence after the break. Ben Mee rose highest from Maxwell Cornet’s corner but he couldn’t direct his header centrally enough to call Alisson into action.

Klopp’s desire to gain control of the game was signalled by his decision to send on Thiago in place of his captain with just over 30 minutes remaining.

The points were nearly prematurely heading back to Merseyside when Fabinhio crafted a wonderfully lofted ball over the Clarets’ defence to find Alexander-Arnold, who fired in a fierce cross that Mee nearly turned into his own goal. 

Despite the best efforts from Dyche’s side and the home supporters packed inside of Turf Moor, the Reds hung on to claim a vital victory in Lancashire.

One that ensures they just about remain on the coattails of Manchester City, with that all-important game in hand.

Meanwhile, it looks bleak for Burnley, who are seven points from safety following Newcastle's victory earlier in the day.

Starting XI

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Burnley: Pope, Roberts, Mee, Tarkowski, Pieters; Lennon, Brownhill, Westwood,  Cornet; Rodriguez, Weghorst

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