Sam Vokes and Andre Gray scored their first Premier League goals as Burnley stunned Liverpool with a superb 2-0 victory at Turf Moor.
Playing on the road again as a result of renovation work at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s men were unable to recapture the inspired form that secured a 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening weekend.
Unfortunately for their manager, the defensive frailties displayed at Emirates Stadium were quickly evident once more as Wales international Vokes emphatically opened the scoring in the second minute.
Vokes was finding his feet following a serious knee injury during Burnley’s 2014-15 foray into the top flight and failed to find the net in 15 appearances, but his partnership with the more prolific Gray holds plenty of promise this time around.
Gray scored 25 times as Sean Dyche’s side won the Championship last season and his tireless running gave Liverpool’s defence a torrid afternoon, with a fine 37th-minute finish coming as just reward.
Liverpool, who rubber-stamped Christian Benteke’s departure to Crystal Palace earlier on Saturday, lacked similar cutting edge, leaving Klopp with plenty to ponder.
The visitors started with James Milner as a make-shift left-back but it was their established right-back who erred as Burnley grabbed an early advantage.
Nathaniel Clyne’s slack pass in-field was anticipated and intercepted by Gray, who fed Vokes and saw his strike partner turn to thrash an unstoppable shot past Simon Mignolet from the edge of the box.
Gray then had a chance to demonstrate his trademark pace and Liverpool required a last-ditch recovery tackle from Dejan Lovren to avert further damage.
Klopp’s side were soon confidently going about their work in possession but could not penetrate a deep and dogged Burnley defence.
Adam Lallana had a pair of shots blocked and, as Daniel Sturridge curled a speculative effort wide, Liverpool were struggling for clear openings before Gray created and clinically dispatched one.
Burnley debutant Steven Defour crashed through a challenge from Ragnar Klavan and drove towards a backpedalling away defence to pick out Gray.
There was still much to do for the former Brentford man, who cut swiftly inside Jordan Henderson and Klavan and clipped a low left-foot shot into the far corner.
Sturridge skewed his latest attempt wide and Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton kept out a swirling long-range effort from Roberto Firmino as Liverpool looked to respond during the opening stages of the second half.
Dyche’s men still stood firm in relative comfort and Klopp’s decision to replace Sturridge with Divock Origi in the 65th minute hinted at Liverpool seeking a more direct route to goal.
Gray was evidently brimming with confidence when he fizzed a 25-yard drive wide and remained the focal point when Burnley ventured from their own half, although he failed to punish the ailing Lovren and Klavan on a 72nd-minute break.
Substitute Marko Grujic extended Heaton but Liverpool’s final charge failed to gather steam and, having waited until November to record their first Premier League win last time, Dyche was able to enjoy a deserved three-point haul.
Key Opta stats:
– The Clarets won their first league game against Liverpool since September 1974, having gone seven without a win since then.
– Sam Vokes became the first Burnley player to score a league goal against Liverpool at Turf Moor since Ray Hankin in March 1975 – they had failed in six games since then.
– Burnley scored more in this game than they managed in seven previous home Premier League games (1).
– Vokes scored his first Premier League goal in his 28th appearance in the competition.
– Liverpool have only kept one clean sheet in their last 11 away Premier League games (6-0 v Aston Villa).
– Since Jurgen Klopp took over, only Aston Villa (12) and West Ham (10) have had more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than Liverpool (9).
– Burnley scored with their first two shots against Liverpool and their only two shots on target.
– Liverpool posted the highest possession figure for a losing side in the PL since 2003-04 (80.6 per cent).