Every match is a big one when you have ambitions of winning the Premier League title, but this one felt much more important than the average home game against Burnley.
The Clarets visited Anfield, ready for a clash with a Reds side as out-of-form as they have been in a long time. Soulless draws against West Brom, Newcastle and Manchester United were uninspiring, while the 1-0 loss at Southampton was downright dreadful.
The most worrying part of it all had been the lack of effectiveness in front of goal, with the usually deadly trio of Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all struggling in shooting situations of late.
Sean Dyche’s side are usually stingy and defend well – and it was no different here as Burnley defender resolutely before converting a late penalty to end Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten record at Anfield.
Joėl Matip started after recovering from his latest injury, but captain Jordan Henderson was absent after picking up a knock. Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi all started as Jürgen Klopp shuffled his pack with one eye on the FA Cup clash with United on Sunday.
It was the Belgian who squandered Liverpool’s best chance, when he rattled the bar after running through on goal following Ben Mee’s first-half error.
That reprieve was seized upon by the Clarets, who scored with seven minutes left after a mix-up between Fabinho and Alisson saw the goalkeeper bring down Ashley Barnes in the area. He got up to convert, and won the game for Burnley.
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