Burnley vs Liverpool is fixture which has gone in two very different directions over the past two seasons. In 2016/17, it was the Clarets’ second match back in the big time. They didn’t have a single shot in the box, Liverpool had 26 attempts in total but few of little real value, and Burnley won 2-0. Kopites were noting after their recent defeat to Crvena Zvezda that it felt very similar to that infamous Turf Moor loss.
It was a happier visit on New Year’s Day 2018, as Ragnar Klavan scored in the 94th minute in front of the away fans to give Liverpool a 2-1 win. From the agony of a stodgy defeat, to the ecstasy of an injury-time winner. But what can we expect to see on Wednesday night?
The form of the two teams means it’s very hard to look past an away win. As much as Burnley have the reputation of being hard to beat on their own patch, their recent record against the big boys is poor.
Sean Dyche’s team took just one point at home from the six sides who finished above them in 2017/18, albeit it was in a 1-1 draw with the Champions. They’ve already lost to Chelsea and Manchester United at Turf Moor this season too.
By contrast, Liverpool have won all ten of their league matches against teams outside the traditional big six in 2018/19, and they’re the only side who can say that. The expected goals stats from this season suggest that the visitors should win easily, with 2-0 the most likely scoreline.
With the Reds enjoying their best start to a top flight campaign defensively, it’s hard to see how the home side can lay a glove on them. In losing 2-0 on Saturday, Burnley had just four shots (while conceding a whopping 29) against a Crystal Palace side who hadn’t won at home this season prior to the match. Any team whose goalkeeper leads their attack rankings on Twelve’s algorithm is always going to struggle to create good chances.
Long balls from Hart and Mee to the forwards might work against some sides, but it’d be meat and drink for the likes of van Dijk, Gomez and Lovren. If they can handle Troy Deeney, they should be okay here.
In terms of Liverpool’s attack, they also have a defender at the top of the pile, but in what is often a more useful way. Andy Robertson has been their main man for clear-cut chances and assists so far this season.
Only three teams in the division have conceded more crosses per match than Burnley in 2018/19. Can Robertson make the most of his opportunities? Right-back Matthew Lowton has been the Clarets’ third best performer in the opinion of Twelve, so he could be set for an intriguing battle with the Reds’ young Scot.
Burnley follow this match with a home game against Brighton, but then travel to Tottenham and Arsenal in their next two after that. A bad result here and their own personal agony might continue for a while longer yet.