Premier League: Liverpool v Burnley

After securing their first top flight title in 30 years last season, the remit for Jurgen Klopp’s side this time around is to retain the Premier League crown.

However, the 2020/21 campaign so far has been far from as emphatic as last season’s romp to glory with the Reds currently positioned in 4th and 6 points off the top.

A 0-0 draw with bitterest rivals Manchester United last time out means it is now four Premier League games without a win for the incumbent champions, and victories for Manchester City, Leicester and Manchester United midweek has put pressure back on to Liverpool to keep up at the top.

Victory over Burnley will keep Jurgen Klopp’s men in the hunt, but the German has insisted recently that qualification for the Champions League must first be considered before any talk of title retention.

The Clarets travel to Anfield on Thursday a huge 16/1 shot to end Liverpool’s remarkable unbeaten home league record – something which, if they achieve, will be a massive boost in their fight to remain a Premier League side.

Sean Dyche’s men have two games in hand over some of their closest relegation rivals, and although Burnley are 4 points clear of the bottom thee, extending that gap in what has been a peculiar season will be most welcome.

With Brighton and Fulham doing battle at the weekend, Burnley can gain a real advantage in what will no doubt be a scrap to stay above water this season.

Liverpool haven’t scored a goal in three consecutive league games, something which hasn’t happened for 16 years. Despite this, the Reds do have the division’s top scorer this season in Mohamed Salah.

Fellow forward Diogo Jota remains sidelined, however, and Klopp is expected to play Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane alongside Salah in a front three.

Defence is the key concern for Liverpool from an injury perspective, though, with midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho set to deputise at centre back once again.

Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas, Joe Gomez and Naby Keita all remain long term injury absentees.

For Burnley, Charlie Taylor will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the short trip to Merseyside, whilst Dwight McNeil is in contention once again after missing the last two games.

Whilst Nick Pope is expected to start in goal, reserve goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell is a doubt for the game at Anfield due to illness.

Liverpool v Burnley is an 8pm kick off on Thursday 21st January.

West Brom steal late 1-1 draw at Liverpool

The Baggies set their stall out to make life as difficult as possible for the Reds, but Sadio Mane’s early goal had looked to be enough to secure, before Semi Ajayi stole the headlines late on.

With the visitors playing with ten men behind the ball in the opening stages, Jurgen Klopp’s team were forced to be patient, before Mane edged them ahead on 12 minutes.

Joel Matip’s long pass caught his opposite centre backs too square and Mane raced on and smashed past Sam Johnstone.

That early goal did nothing to change the flow of the match as West Brom sat in and Liverpool grew more and more frustrated.

Liverpool continued to boss everything after the break with skipper Jordan Henderson flashing an effort wide.

And with Klopp’s side unable to break through, the Baggies stayed in the game and pull off Allardyce’s masterplan with 10 to go.

Matheus Pereira’s deep corner caused problems in the Liverpool box and Ajayi got highest to nod home.

Full Time at Anfield it’s Liverpool 1 West Brom 1

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v West Brom

The Reds squad is still blighted by injuries as 2020 comes to an end with Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez all out for the foreseeable.

Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara is back in training following a knee injury with Klopp confident he should see some action in this one.

As for The Baggies, life back in the West Midlands started with defeat for Allardyce as they were brushed off by Aston Villa last time out.

Skipper Jake Livermore begins a three-match ban after being sent off in that one with Matheus Pereira back in contention following his own time on the naughty step.

Add with Big Sam looking to get his new squad right back to basics in the weeks to come, veteran war horse Branislav Ivanovic could also come back in.

And it’s all set to go at Anfield with a 4.30pm Kick Off.

Firmino heads dramatic late winner as 2-1 victory over Spurs sends Liverpool top

In a victory reminiscent of so many which carried them to their first title in 30 years last season, the hosts’ relentlessness was rewarded when the Brazil international powered home a header from Andy Robertson’s corner with the seconds ticking down.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho looked sickened, having assumed his side had done enough to earn the point which would have kept them at the summit.

Liverpool had comfortably out-shot their opponents during the 90 minutes, in which they enjoyed 76 per cent possession, but saw Mohamed Salah’s goal cancelled out by Son Heung-Min in the first half.

It appeared they would be frustrated by a Mourinho game-plan which everyone predicted and which the Portuguese seemed satisfied enough with to replace midfielder Steven Bergwijn, who hit the post in the second half and looked a threat on the counter-attack, with left-back Sergio Reguilon with 15 minutes to go.

But Jurgen Klopp’s men have seen this sort of thing before and encouraged by their opponents’ passivity continued to drive forward and that eventually brought its reward.

How much the victory meant was evident as Klopp, having had words with Mourinho, raced onto the pitch at the final whistle and lifted Sadio Mane clean off his feet before embracing each and every one of his players before producing his trademark triple fist-pump for the supporters on the Kop.

Liverpool expected Tottenham to play on the counter-attack and that is what they did, although there was little in the way of attacking from the visitors as they conceded vast amounts of possession.

That tactic told in the 28th minute when the Reds’ midfield dominance saw Curtis Jones drive into the penalty area and when the ball broke loose Salah’s shot looped up off Toby Alderweireld and inside Hugo Lloris’ left-hand post.

The goal did not appear to change the direction of traffic but out of nowhere a trademark Tottenham counter caught Liverpool cold.

Son raced onto Giovani Lo Celso’s pass through the inside-left channel, in the space vacated by the advanced Trent Alexander-Arnold as the covering Jones switched off for fraction of a second, and slotted past Alisson Becker with VAR confirming he had just stayed onside.

Liverpool had only themselves to blame having found Lloris with virtually every shot on target as Firmino (twice), Salah and Mane all made it too easy for the France international when well placed, although the ball hitting Eric Dier’s arm in the penalty area was not even deemed worthy of a VAR check.

Tottenham finished the half with just 21 per cent possession but still on level terms. Klopp ended it by launching a tirade at the officials before haring off down the tunnel the second the whistle was blown.

Just 28 seconds after the break Premier League debutant Rhys Williams missed his header, his first mistake of the night, and Bergwijn screwed wide a chance to give Spurs a surprise lead.

Liverpool had come out sloppy and when Alisson kicked straight to Harry Kane, the Brazil goalkeeper had to back-pedal quickly when the ball was lobbed back at him.

Spurs were playing a more open game and after a Salah shot from distance was tipped around the post by Lloris, Bergwijn hit the upright at the other end from Son’s flick-on and Kane missed a simple header by burying it into the turf and watching it bounce over the crossbar.

Another Kane mistake, this time losing possession inside the centre-circle to Williams, saw Salah shoot tamely at Lloris again, with Mane drilling a drive against the crossbar.

With 15 minutes remaining, Mourinho seemed to settle for a point and that just persuaded Liverpool to push forward for the remainder of the game and their endeavour and ambition was rewarded with Firmino’s late intervention.

Premier League: Liverpool v Tottenham

This top of the table clash should make for fascinating viewing, with both sides locked on 25 points after 12 games, with Spurs having their noses in front by virtue of goal difference.

Jose Mourinho was drafted in by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to win the club silverware, and the Portuguese gaffer has made a great start to the league campaign in his first full season in charge in North London.

The former Chelsea boss will no doubt have his eyes set on a fourth Premier League title to add to the three he won at Stamford Bridge– particularly after the critics said he was finished following a disappointing stint at Manchester United.

Throw in the dangling carrot of the chance to put an end to Liverpool’s formidable 65-game unbeaten run at Anfield, Mourinho will no doubt be licking his lips – even more so considering it was Liverpool who put a halt to Chelsea’s sensational 84-match unbeaten stretch at Stamford Bridge between 2004 and 2008, which is a Premier League record to this day and one the Special One played a huge part in.

Jurgen Klopp meanwhile knows exactly what it takes to go the distance domestically, too, with his Liverpool side scooping their first crown for 30 years last season.

Add to that the neck-and-neck title race between the Reds and Manchester City the campaign before – in which Liverpool were pipped to the title even after amassing 97 points – then you now doubt have a manager who is hardened in the Premier League chase.

Three points in this game may be as beneficial psychologically to either side as it is to the physical constitution of the table – a win for Spurs and they’ll feel they have the advantage – victory for Liverpool is proof that they are a winning machine despite being decimated by injuries.

The latest on Klopp’s sick list is Diogo Jota, who will be out for 6-8 weeks with a knee injury. The forward has been excellent since his arrival from Wolves in the summer and his absence will be a miss considering the fine start to his Anfield career.

First choice defenders Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk remain long-term absentees with knee injuries, and with Joel Matip coming off against Fulham with back spasms, Liverpool were forced to play a centre back pairing of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.

If Matip doesn’t recover in time for the Spurs game, Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips are likely to be involved.

Naby Keita has picked up another muscle strain to add to the misery, whilst Thiago Alcantara, Alex Olxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner all remain absent with theirs.

Tottenham’s squad is far fresher, with Erik Lamela the only major doubt for Mourinho.

Gareth Bale sat out of the weekend’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace with illness but is in contention to return at Anfield.

Striker Harry Kane is fully fit and is expected to break a Premier League record over the Christmas period. The England captain has been directly involved in 19 goals in just 12 games this season and is on course to be the fastest player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in a campaign since Cesc Fabregas achieved the feat after 17 matches.

2000 supporters are expected to be in attendance with the Merseyside region under Tier 2 of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions – however, the return of fans to Tottenham’s ground was shortlived following news that the Greater London area will move in to Tier 3, therein prohibiting fans’ attendance.

With both Spurs and Liverpool drawing 1-1 against Crystal Palace and Fulham at the weekend, two sides you’d have expected them to beat, this battle for top spot becomes all the more interesting and is being billed as one of the games of the Premier League season so far.

Liverpool v Tottenham is an 8pm kick off on Wednesday 16th December.

Premier League Preview: Fulham v Liverpool

Klopp is still battling against an injury crisis at Anfield with seven first team players still sidelined through injury.

Goalkeeper Alisson has returned to training this week but with Caoimhin Kelleher performing excellently in his absence, Klopp may stick with the Irishman.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also be in line for his first appearance this season but Diogo Jota as Kostas Tsimikas are set to miss out.

Fulham boss Scott Parker has reported a clean bill of health ahead of this weekend with key defender Kenny Tete fit to return.

And with the Cottagers likely to be on the back foot for the majority of the game, Parker could look to draft in some extra defensive numbers, with Mario Lemina, Tim Ream and Tom Cairney coming back in.

Kick Off is 4.30pm on Sunday at Craven Cottage

Liverpool return to Anfield with 4-0 win over Wolves

The defending champions welcomed back supporters for the first time this season and goals from Mo Salah, Gini Wijnaldum and Joel Matip ensured a happy return.

The Reds were quick out of the blocks against Nuno Santo’s side, with Sadio Mane nodding just wide, before Salah handed them a deserved lead.

Wolves skipper Conor Coady made a mess of Jordan Henderson’s long ball forward and Salah darted in behind to fire home.

The visitors did look to have forced a way back into before the break as Coady went down under a challenge from Mane inside the box.

But despite originally awarded a spot kick, referee Craig Pawson changed his mind after a VAR check.

That lucky break powered Klopp side on after the break as Wijnaldum’s long range strike put them 2-0 in front.

Despite trailing to a two goal deficit, Wolves worked hard to stay in the game, but Liverpool’s cutting edge proved the vital difference late on.

Matip powered home a header from a delightful Salah cross and Nelson Semedo bundled home a late own goal as Anfield found its voice once again on a cold night on Merseyside.

Full Time at Anfield Liverpool 4 Wolves 0

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v Wolves

The Reds will have fans back for the first time in 2020 in what is a timely boost for Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

The German boss is without nine first teamers for the visit of Nuno Santo’s side, meaning he will once again need to rely on his young stars to step up.

Jordan Henderson and Andrew Robertson should be OK to start for Klopp but Naby Keita and Trent Alexander-Arnold are not yet fit enough to return.

Klopp’s injury list means Neco Williams and Curtis Jones should keep their starting spots with Irish keeper Caoimhin Kelleher in line for his Premier League debut.

Wolves talisman Raul Jimenez misses this game after suffering a head injury at Arsenal last weekend, with Portuguese teenager Fabio Silva set to fill in as his replacement in Santo’s only likely change.

And kick off is 7.15pm on Sunday night at Anfield.

Liverpool cruise past Leicester City with 3-0 Anfield Premier League win

Jurgen Klopp’s faced the Foxes without a host of first team stars, with goals from Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino, plus a Jonny Evans own goal, secured a vital win.

The Reds just about edged a tight opening at Anfield, as Jota and Curtis Jones forced early stops from Kasper Schmeichel.

But despite all of the attacking talent on display for Klopp, Liverpool’s opener came via a bizarre own goal.

Jordan Henderson’s corner caused problems in the Foxes box and the unfortunate Evans could nothing to stop the ball ricocheting off him an into the net.

That slice of luck boosted Liverpool’s confidence before the break, as Jota extended their lead on 42 minutes.

The Portuguese international has enjoyed a brilliant start to life at Anfield and he flicked home a perfect header from Andy Robertson’s cross.

Leicester did look to rally after the break, as Brendan Rodgers’ side cranked up the pressure, with Alisson making vital saves from Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes.

But Liverpool always look as though they had another gear to move up into, and Firmino wrapped up all three points for Klopp as he powered home James Milner’s corner.

Full Time at Anfield it’s Liverpool 3 Leicester City 0

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v Leicester City

Jurgen Klopp is already without both of his first-choice centre backs after Joe Gomez joined Virgil Van Dijk on the sidelines.

Skipper Jordan Henderson is also out, after picking up a groin injury on international duty, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and
Mo Salah also missing from a depleted Reds side.

James Milner is expected to fill in for Trent at right back, with Fabinho moving back into defence in place of Gomez.

However, despite the mounting injury list for Klopp, Thiago Alcantara and Andy Robertson have both been passed fit to return.

For the Foxes, Rodgers also has issues in defence, with right backs Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne ruled out.

Wesley Fofana should be OK to start at centre back, meaning Rodgers could name an unchanged starting line up from their win against Wolves last time out.

And it’s all set up for a 7.15pm kick off tomorrow night at Anfield.

FIFA to pay Joe Gomez’s Liverpool wages after knee surgery

Gomez underwent surgery on a knee injury sustained in a training session with Gareth Southgate’s squad last week.

He is expected to miss the bulk of the Reds season alongside centre back partner Virgil Van Dijk, leaving Jurgen Klopp with a real injury headache to deal with.

However, the club’s case for financial compensation has now been upheld according to reports from the Liverpool Echo.

Klopp is likely to dip into the January transfer market to source a temporary replacement with former Watford defender Daryl Janmaat on his list of targets.

That’s the latest from Anfield, check back in tomorrow for more with the Sport Social.

Liverpool seal late 2-1 Premier League Anfield win over West Ham

Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled for large parts against the Hammers but on form Diogo Jota’s late goal secured a crucial three points.

David Moyes’ side started slowly at Anfield but the visitors were gifted an opening goal inside the first ten minutes.

Joe Gomez made a complete mess of Arthur Masuaku’s cross into the box and Pablo Fornals reacted quickly to lash an effort past Alisson.

Liverpool did look to launch a response before the break with Trent Alexander-Arnold almost catching out Lukasz Fabianksi and Andy Robertson firing over.

But just as West Ham were gifted an opening goal, Liverpool were given a massive helping hand for their equaliser just before the break.

Masuaku tangled with Mo Salah inside the box and despite any contact appearing minimal, referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot, and the Egyptian tucked home.

The Reds looked to take up the initiative after the break as Klopp threw on Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Those changes tipped the balance for hosts as Jota bravely converted Sadio Mane’s saved shot.

But Friend was to frustrate Liverpool this time as he ruled it out for offside against Mane.

However, Jota was not to be denied another goal in his impressive start to life at Liverpool as gambled on Shaqiri’s clever chip to fire home.

Full Time at Anfield it’s Liverpool 2 West Ham 1