https://www.sportinglife.com- Ashley Barnes celebrates his goal at the Anfield Road end
Liverpool’s poor run of form continued as they lost for the first time in 69 home Premier League games thanks to a 1-0 defeat to Burnley at Anfield.
Since beating Crystal Palace 7-0 Liverpool have failed to win in five Premier League games and they haven’t scored in their last four, something that Divock Origi couldn’t alter has he was handed a rare start in the first XI.
He came closest for the home team, smashing a one-on-one against the crossbar in the first half after a mistake from Ben Mee, but was withdrawn in the second period as Jurgen Klopp turned to substitutes Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Neither could make the difference, though, and the home team paid for their lack of spark in the final third when Alisson brought down Ashley Barnes in the penalty area in the 83rd minute.
Barnes converted the spot-kick to ensure Burnley’s first victory at Anfield in 46 years and condemn Liverpool to a rare but crucial home defeat as they lost further ground on the teams at the top of the table.
It was a famous victory for Burnley, whose last win on this ground came in September 1974 courtesy of Ian Brennan’s goal.
Last season they were the only side to take a point off Liverpool at home as they raced to the title, and they finished this game with the same amount of possession – 29 per cent – but crucially went one better.
They employed similar tactics of defending resolutely, competing physically and taking the opportunity when it arose.
The same could not be said for Klopp’s side, who had 27 attempts but only six on target, and they are now six points behind leaders Manchester United.
A fifth win of the season lifted Burnley to 19 points, but the confidence of the result will be just as important.
Barnes told Sky Sports: “What a shift from the lads. Great team performance and luckily we’ve come away with three points. We believe in every game, that was no different today, we knew it was going to be tough but we were resilient, we stayed to our shape and it paid off.
“We knew if we keep believing we will get something. We were growing into the game. We managed to stick to our jobs, slow everything down, and it worked.”
On his 100th goal, Barnes said: “It’s massive, every goal’s massive, but it’s the next one that’s more important.”
The striker played down his spat just after the half-time whistle with Fabinho, saying: “Bit of handbags, one of them. He just gave us a little kick after. It’s football, you just get on with it.”
Klopp was tight-lipped on his own half-time clash with Sean Dyche, saying: “I didn’t start it but all good.
“We lost a game which I think it’s actually impossible to lose. But we did it, and that’s my fault because my job is to make sure that the boys have the right feelings – the right amount of confidence, they make the right decisions. All these kind of things. That obviously didn’t work out.
“We had the ball a lot, we created some situations but, in the final moment, obviously our decision-making is not right at the moment, that’s the problem.
“I have to make it clearer. How you come in behind their last line, these kind of things. That’s the job we have to do.”
The German addressed Liverpool’s lack of goals in recent games, saying: “It’s really difficult to play against these kinds of low block but we did it already.
“You have to score the first one and we don’t score the first one, and that makes things difficult because, after scoring not that much for a long time, it’s not that everyone feels incredibly confident in these moments, and that’s something we have to work on.
“It’s the not the first time this happened in football, it won’t be the last time, and the good news is we can change it, we just have to work on it.”
Speaking to Sky Sports about his words with Klopp, Dyche said: “We come to these places, we are allowed to fight, we are allowed to try and win. That’s all it was. It’s just two managers fighting for their teams, wanting to win a game. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Asked how Burnley achieved their momentous win, the Clarets boss said: “Doing the basics very well, structure of the side, shape of the side, individual diligence.
“You still need a bit of luck, they had a couple of chances where Popey’s had to make a good save down to his left second half. I’ve always believed in the side to find a moment and I thought we found a couple actually. Barnesy gets a penalty and slots it away very well.”