Liverpool scrambled to a 2-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor to brighten up their Boxing Day and temporarily go top of the Premier League. It took until second-half stoppage time for injury returnee Diogo Jota to make sure of the points, a full 84 minutes after Darwin Nunez’s opener. As the dust settles on an entertaining contest, Express Sport takes you through four key talking points…
Gakpo leaves Klopp with no choice
Cody Gakpo has been deployed in a range of roles since signing from PSV Eindhoven in January, but his electric performance against the Clarets effectively gives manager Jurgen Klopp no choice but to continue playing him on the left wing.
His athleticism and aggression posed a constant threat, and the link-up play for Nunez to confidently bag the opening goal of the game was top drawer. Later on, a powerful run and pass to set up Mohamed Salah resulted in the Egyptian striking the top of the crossbar.
It was a superb display from Gakpo, who was able to put his strong points to good use by running in behind and driving into the box from the left, as opposed to occupying central spaces when playing up top.
Familiar feud reignites
Paul Tierney and Klopp aren’t big fans of one another. The referee took charge of Liverpool’s controversial 4-3 win over Tottenham back in April before avoiding Reds matches for the next six months.
Klopp raised eyebrows earlier this year by claiming that Tierney ‘has something against’ his side, and the German went on to serve a two-match ban. The pair were reunited at Turf Moor on Boxing Day.
And tensions temporarily boiled over when Gakpo appeared to put Liverpool two up, only for his goal to be chalked off for a Nunez foul which Burnley players hardly appealed for. Klopp could then be seen appearing to shout ‘always the same’ from the touchline, with the manager and many of his supporters feeling hard done by.
Trafford shines in vain
James Trafford was nothing short of sensational in front of his home supporters. The Burnley goalkeeper denied Gakpo from close range, tipped Salah’s deft finish onto the cross bar, turned Wataru Endo’s shot around the post and plucked the ball out of the sky with a surprisingly good first touch in the second half.
That’s just to mention a few of his highlights against Liverpool, who could hardly believe they only managed two goals on the night. Trafford notching seven first-half saves is more than any other stopper has managed in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game this season, which hammers home the class of the 21-year-old’s display.