Liverpool welcome Burnley to Anfield for their penultimate home game of the season as they look to match the record for most home wins in a single season.
The Reds recorded their first away win since the end of February as they defeated Brighton 3-1. The Reds were much improved from their previous outing as they dominated the majority of the match while giving some young players a chance to show their abilities.
Meanwhile, Burnley continued their recent resurgence. Since the restart, they have won three of their last four games, keeping a clean sheet in each. This form has seen the Clarets shoot up the table and has now put them in contention for European football.
Liverpool became only the third team to reach 90 points in consecutive seasons as they defeated a well-drilled Brighton side by three goals to one. From the start the home side looked to pass through Liverpool’s press but were punished twice inside the first ten minutes.
Naby Keïta won the ball high up the pitch and squared the ball to Mohamed Salah inside four minutes who opened the scoring. The Guinean was involved in the second as well – again he regained possession before a quick counter-attack saw Salah inadvertently lay it off to Jordan Henderson who found the back of the net from 20 yards.
Neco Williams’ superb block denied Leandro Trossard, the Welsh full-back impressed in patches on his full league debut but lacked support defensively which often left him on the wrong end of 2v1 situations. The home side did score just before half-time through Trossard – Brighton carved through Liverpool’s defence as the impressive Tariq Lamptey crossed in for the Belgian who expertly volleyed home.
The Seagulls continued to threaten in the second half before Sadio Mané and Fabinho came on to help Liverpool get more of a foothold in the game. Salah made sure of the three points as he headed in from Andy Robertson’s corner.
Burnley defeated West Ham United at the London Stadium as they moved to within a point of potential European football for next season. Sean Dyche fielded the same team which drew with Sheffield United a few days before.
Eric Pieters had the first chance of the game but failed to find the target when placed in a good position. Nick Pope saved Tomáš Souček’s effort from point-blank range to keep the scores level.
Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring for the Clarets, heading home Charlie Taylor’s cross via the underside of the bar. The home side should have been level within minutes of the restart, but Michail Antonio hit the post despite only having the ‘keeper to beat.
Pope denied the Hammers twice more, first tipping Andriy Yarmolenko’s effort around the post, before saving with his feet from Sébastien Haller’s low shot. Chris Wood had the opportunity to secure the three points, he raced through late on but Łukasz Fabiański was equal to the New Zealander’s effort. It mattered little in the end as Burnley won 1-0 for the third time in four games.
Jordan Henderson joins Joël Matip on the treatment table and has been ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury at Brighton.
Since Andy Robertson was rested at the weekend, it may be Trent’s time for a breather. Neco Williams struggled at times at left-back but should be better off with an opportunity on his favoured side, and with a bit more defensive support he should be less prone to mistakes. Joe Gomez continues to struggle but the young centre-back always takes a couple of games to get into rhythm.
Naby Keïta continues to impress and with Henderson out injured he should play from now until the end of the season. He could be joined in midfield by James Milner and Fabinho.
Takumi Minamino could be given the chance to start up front and will be flanked by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. The Japan international has struggled since his move to Anfield but he has rarely been played in a full-strength side.
Sean Dyche should be expected to make changes having fielded the same side in consecutive matches, though due to a lack of options the back five should remain unchanged.
Nick Pope has had another excellent season and is currently leading the charts for most clean sheets with 14, one ahead of Alisson. Charlie Taylor, James Tarkowski, Kevin Long and Phil Bardsley will start in defence – the quartet are well-drilled, but a third game in a week may make them prone to an error.
Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson will come into midfield with Josh Brownhill and Ashley Westwood, with Dwight McNeil completing a midfield four.
Jay Rodriguez will have work to do as he starts up front alongside Chris Wood on his return from injury. The English forward has eight goals this season with two coming after the restart. He has also scored at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, so he isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.
Most teams have utilised the ability to make five subs a game – Liverpool are one of a few teams to have made five subs in every game. Sean Dyche has just made on average 1.5 subs per game, highlighting a lack of depth in his squad which could lead to mental and physical fatigue.http://gty.im/1129568964
Naby Keïta had an excelling outing against Brighton – twice he won the ball high up the pitch which led to Liverpool racing into a two-goal lead inside ten minutes. The Guinean has massively improved since the restart and will be a pivotal figure in breaking down a well drilled Burnley side.
If Liverpool were to win, they would match the most wins at home in a single season (18), with a game to make it a perfect 19 which would make them the first team to do so in the Premier League. If Liverpool get an early goal, then it should be another routine victory.
Predicted final score: Liverpool 3-0 Burnley
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