AnalysisJota's knack, Anfield history and more Liverpool 3-1 Burnley talking points
Liverpool regained their place at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Burnley at Anfield on Saturday.
Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez were all on target for the Reds, in front of a record Anfield crowd in league football of 59,896.
Here are five things we noticed on the afternoon in L4…
Jota does what Jota does
The last time Liverpool played Burnley, Jota’s inclusion in the squad surprised even the man himself. He’d been called up late, drafted in by Jürgen Klopp after weeks on the sidelines injured.
Jota scored on that Boxing Day night at Turf Moor, and since then the Portugal international has been in irresistible form for the Reds, managing eight goal involvements (six goals and two assists) in his last eight league matches.
The latest saw Jota doing what he does so often, finding space in a crowded penalty box to head home the opening goal from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner after 31 minutes, with Liverpool having struggled to create chances to that point.
Jota now has 14 goals in all competitions this season. Only Mohamed Salah has more for the Reds.
History made at Anfield
This was a memorable afternoon for the 59,896 fans who were in attendance, as Anfield recorded its biggest ever crowd for a league fixture.
The latest phase of the Anfield Road Stand expansion meant the previous record, set in December 1949 when the Reds drew 2-2 with Chelsea, was beaten comfortably.
And those present got what they came for: a Liverpool victory, celebrated with all four stands at the final whistle by a delighted Klopp.
Liverpool use their head
Three headers, three goals. Three vital points for Liverpool.
All four goals in this game, in fact, came via the head. Jota opened the scoring from Alexander-Arnold’s corner, only for Burnley to reply in kind as Dara O’Shea bulleted in Josh Brownhill’s delivery before half-time.
Diaz, though, showed lightning reflexes to nod in Harvey Elliott’s deflected cross, seven minutes into the second half, and then Nunez reacted superbly to steer another Elliott delivery into the corner and seal the win, 11 minutes from the end.
Kelleher steps up
With Alisson Becker ruled out of the game through illness, Liverpool asked their No.2 goalkeeper to step up to the plate.
Caoimhin Kelleher did just that.
The Republic of Ireland international was called into action inside the first 10 minutes, saving bravely at the feet of Zeki Amdouni after the Burnley man had driven dangerously into the box.
And though he was beaten by O’Shea’s fine header, which levelled the score just before the interval, he responded to a critical moment after the break, standing up big to save when David Datro Fofana had broken through.
The game was poised at 2-1 at the time, so the importance of Kelleher’s save cannot be overstated. He can be proud of his day’s work.
Elliott the game-changer
With Alexander-Arnold withdrawn at half-time, Elliott was given the chance to come on and influence the game.
And influence it, he most certainly did.
The 20-year-old was bright from the word go, and it was his cross, slightly deflected, that led to Diaz making it 2-1 on 52 minutes.
Elliott continued to impact things, and picked up another assist late on, unselfishly clipping in a lovely ball that Nunez glanced into the top corner.
Not for the first time this season, Klopp found an answer on his bench, wearing the No.19 shirt.
“I’m just more than happy getting on the pitch first and foremost, whether it’s off the bench or starting, I’m just happy to put the shirt on and go out and play, especially at Anfield,” said Elliott post-match.
“It’s down to me to try to make a difference; that’s why I’m coming on, that’s kind of my role in the team, that’s why I’m here today.”