Monday, July 22, 2019

Prediction: Liverpool vs Burnley

Prediction: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 9/5

Bookmaker: 888sport

Liverpool welcome Burnley to Anfield in Premier League’s 30th round of the 2018/19 season in a game that, just like the remaining eight, might have a huge bearing on the title race in England.

Liverpool

The importance of winning games at home against a team like Burnley (with all due respect to the Clarets) for any team looking to win the Premier League title can hardly be exaggerated. Liverpool sit second, a single point behind leaders Manchester City. The race looks poised for a photo-finish, and at the moment it’s a matter of staying focused without blinking for both contenders.

Their form has recently been somewhat colourful, with an impressive 5-0 home win over Watford nestled between potentially harming away draws against two bitter rivals: Manchester United and Everton. They do have a few wrinkles to iron out, and with games against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur still to come, this is one they simply have to win.

Team News

Having missed 11 months of football after suffering a horrible knee injury, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played 41 minutes for the U-23 team on Friday and is nearing a first-team return, but he’s out of this game. The same goes for defender Joe Gomez who has started full training following surgery after a lower-leg fracture. Dejan Lovren, on the other hand, is fit, but he will still be assessed ahead of the game. That means Joel Matip is likely for another start alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence.

Roberto Firmino was also recently injured, but he should be ready to play alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah upfront. Young striker Rhian Brewster is recovering well from long-term injury, but his matchday involvement is still not so close.

Manager Jurgen Klopp has a number of options in midfield, and given the players’ vast versatility, it’s anybody’s guess at this point who shall play and in which role. However, arguably the most versatile of all – James Milner is a doubt due to a slight muscle issue and like Lovren, he’ll be assessed before a decision is made.

Burnley

The Clarets have been a pleasant surprise in the Premier League since their promotion in 2016. They have been known to give top teams quite a battle, as Liverpool themselves fully felt at the start of 2016/17 when they left Turf Moor with empty hands and two goals in their net. They are known for their tactical discipline under manager Sean Dyche and extremely physical approach in all segments of the game, something Liverpool struggled with in the recent years.

Surprisingly enough, they finished 2017/18 in seventh place and made the Europa League qualifications, before crashing out at the hands of Olympiacos in August. Their form this season hasn’t been nearly as good as in the previous one and they sit 16th, five points above the relegation zone. They did, however, recently hold Manchester United to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford and beat Spurs at home.

Team News

Dyche has revealed that midfielder Steven Defour is unlikely to play again this season after undergoing calf surgery, while experienced winger Aaron Lennon is out with a knee problem.

Key factors to consider

  • The two teams have met 119 times in all competitions so far, with Liverpool winning 54, Burnley 37, and 28 draws;
  • In the last 10 meetings, Liverpool won seven times, Burnley twice, and once game – at Anfield – ended in a draw;
  • Liverpool chase the elusive Premier League title, and they certainly need all the points they can get between now and the end of the season;
  • Burnley sit five points above the relegation zone – far from being safe;
  • Liverpool’s forwards haven’t been firing up to their usual standards recently, but they have the best defence in the league with only 15 goals conceded in the 29 games so far and clean sheets in the last four games;
  • Burnley have achieved good results against Manchester United and Spurs recently

Conclusion

Liverpool must win this game, but Burnley are likely to prove a hard nut to crack. The home side are favourites to win but not by many goals; one strike may well turn out to be enough to get the job done for the Reds.

Prediction: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 9/5

Bookmaker: 888sport

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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