ReactionHow Andy Robertson 'clicked back into gear' in first start since October
Andy Robertson declared himself ‘delighted’ after coming through his first start for four months in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Burnley at Anfield on Saturday.
The Scotland captain returned to the Reds’ starting XI for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on international duty in October, delivering a typical, all-action display as Jürgen Klopp’s side maintained their place at the top of the Premier League table with a hard-fought victory.
Goals from Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez did the damage, and afterwards a beaming Robertson expressed his satisfaction at a job well done.
“I loved it today,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “The gaffer spoke to me yesterday and just said, ‘We don’t have many options!’ He said try to forget that I’ve been out for four months, which is easy for him to say, I suppose!
“But that was my mentality when I woke up before it, to try to forget about it and hope it clicks back into gear. I thought it did, to be fair, I thought I had rhythm, I was up and down as I normally would be, I tried to help Lucho [Diaz] on the overlap and get involved in the game.
“Happy to be back, happy to get 94, 95 minutes, delighted to be back starting, and hopefully that’s me until the end of the season.
“Four months out is a long time but the lads have done unbelievably well. Now I need to step up to their level and today was a good start.”
Robertson admitted Liverpool had to dig deep to secure the three points. They led through Jota’s header, only for Dara O’Shea to bring Burnley level on the stroke of half-time.
In the end, further headers from Diaz and then Nunez saw Klopp’s side home, although they required a big save by goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher from David Datro Fofana to keep them ahead at 2-1.
“[It was] a really difficult afternoon against a really good team,” Robertson said. “I don’t know how they’re in the position they are, because they played really good football, and they’ve got a lot of exciting young players.
“They made it difficult for us, it was never an easy afternoon, I think we knew that from the first whistle. But this team, more often than not, finds a way, and luckily we managed that today.”
He added: “Caoimhin made an unbelievable save, I think Ali [Alisson Becker] would have been proud of that one, and then the boy [Fofana] had another big chance two minutes later or so.
“Then we kind of kicked back into gear, controlled the game from there on, got the third goal, which was important, and then saw it out for a big three points.”
Robertson also paid tribute to Harvey Elliott, who emerged from the bench at half-time to deliver a fine second-half performance, finishing the game with a pair of assists for Diaz and Nunez.
“The last couple of weeks since I’ve come back from injury I’ve been coming off the bench and it’s not easy, but Harv always seems to make an impact,” said Robertson.
“We have a lot of good subs who come and make impacts, but I thought Harvey was different class in the second half today. He took the game by the scruff of the neck, started creating things, started us ticking over. He was excellent, the wee man, so fair play to him. His attitude is always spot on, he always gives his all for this team, and that’s what we need.
“It’s a full squad effort, especially today with illness [and] injuries hitting the squad. Everyone had to step up.”
Liverpool’s preparations for the game had been disrupted, with Joe Gomez and Alisson both ruled out through illness and Klopp revealing post-match that Ryan Gravenberch was not risked after he ‘felt a little bit somewhere’ during the warm-up.
The Reds then lost Trent Alexander-Arnold to injury at half-time, with Curtis Jones stepping in at right-back in the second period.
“He did it unbelievably well,” said Robertson, before adding of the illnesses: “It usually starts in schools with the kids, they bring it home and then the adults get it, then it kind of goes around the changing room quite quickly.
“We have a full week now to prepare for the [Brentford] game and hopefully the lads who have had it can come back, and hopefully no-one else catches it.
“We’ll be fine [and] hopefully we go to Brentford with our strongest squad, they had a good result today and it’s never easy going to that place. We have to be at the top of our game.”