England: surprised by Burnley, Liverpool wins

London (AFP)

Liverpool, who remained in 68 games unbeaten in the league at home since April 2017, were beaten Thursday by the poorly classified Burnley (1-0), in a late match of the 18th day of the league.

This setback, on a penalty conceded by goalkeeper Alisson in the 83rd minute and transformed by Ashley Barnes, left the title holders in 4th place, 6 lengths behind the leader, Manchester United, after 19 matches.

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The last team to win at Anfield was Crystal Palace (2-1) on April 23, 2017 and Liverpool will remain, with their 55 wins and 13 draws, far enough from the absolute record in the English league, held by Chelsea (86 matches).

But beyond the end of this incredible series, this match confirmed the significant difficulties in which the Reds are struggling.

This is the 4th consecutive league game without scoring a goal. No other Premier League side has experienced such a long famine this season.

With only 3 points taken over the last 5 days, Jürgen Klopp’s men see the trio moving away in front of them, made up of both Manchester and Leicester, in full swing.

Burnley has confirmed his status as the Reds’ pet peeve.

About sixty kilometers from Liverpool, the Clarets had already prevented the Grand Slam at Anfield last season, being the only team not to leave defeated in the league (1-1).

And if this victory has all of a hold-up, it worries about the chances of defense of the title for the Reds, always in search of a second wind.

Klopp had chosen this time to leave Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah on the bench, to make way for Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while again starting the Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri in the middle.

– Seized attack, vulnerable defense –

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The exit, even before the hour mark, of the Belgian and the English to let in the two attackers suggests that the solution has failed.

Unless the idea was to bring in Salah and Firmino fresh, to take advantage of a blunt Burnley defense.

Unfortunately for the Reds, the 4-4-2 set up by Sean Dyche, sometimes concentrated in his last 25 meters, held up well, even if he was sometimes on the verge of rupture.

Just before the break, on a ball missed by defender Ben Mee, Origi was able to appear alone in front of goal, but his inside foot had found the junction of the post and the crossbar, before being recovered by Nick Pope ( 44e).

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The England international goalkeeper was also distinguished by several decisive saves, which confirm that he deserves to be much better than a lining for Jordan Pickford in the selection.

He notably pushed back on his line two strikes from Trent Alexander-Arnold (51st) and Salah (60th).

In the last seconds of the match, while Liverpool gave everything to equalize, Firmino, with a heel on a tight cross from Alexander-Arnold, had also failed to find the fault (89th).

But these Reds are no more than the shadow of the team that flew over the championship last year.

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The attacking game is seized, the defense, overwhelmed with injuries, is vulnerable, the title seems more than ever to be taken in the English league and the trips to come to Manchester United in the FA Cup and Tottenham for the next day of the championship , do not bode well.

© 2021 AFP

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