Liverpool start 2018 with a win, after our Premier League victory over Burnley at their own ground.
Jurgen Klopp took some criticism for his team selection before the kickoff but it’s not really his fault that Coutinho and Salah are both currently injured, forcing Klopp to use inexperienced players like Solanke and Oxlade Chamberlain in attack.
Adam Lallana was starting and has only just come back. He’s mostly been appearing as substitute recently due to returning from injury, though he’s a proven player and that was the least of our worries.
Mignolet would replace Karius and Henderson wasn’t captain so the goalkeeper got to wear the captain’s armband.
I’m sure you’ve heard that Liverpool recently signed Virgil Van Dijk (and if you haven’t then visit http://www.anfieldfamily.com/january-transfer-window-opens-vvd-arrives/ ) but he’s yet to fully register all the paperwork needed for being able to play in a fixture for Liverpool. That’s why you didn’t see his name on the lineup, even as substitute for this fixture.
He should be fully registered and able to play in all fixtures from tomorrow, though our next fixture is the FA Cup game against Everton.
It became clear that Burnley didn’t want to do much attacking, they looked like they’d have been happy with a goalless draw. Defending deep from early in the first half to the half time break, Liverpool had been shut down upon most attacks before they had real chances to become goals.
Liverpool started the 2nd half better than they’d started the 1st. We already knew that Burnley were going to be defending heavily now, it wasn’t a surprise any more. All we had to was start finding ways around it, to create more chances for scoring.
One additional factor was the weather. It was probably not as bad as the snow we saw in December for the Merseyside Derby but the heavy rain was there and the players had to deal with it.
All the goals of the game were scored in the 2nd half and it would be the 61st Minute before the first one came.
Mané had been working hard to get into a dangerous position. A cross came over from the right wing and Mané collected the wet ball and moved into a shooting position. Then finished superbly. His powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area made it’s way past Burnley’s goalkeeper and suddenly, Liverpool had taken a lead. Burnley 0-1 Liverpool.
The game then continued for Liverpool like they were going to win 0-1.Almost to the final whistle. Almost.
Burnley didn’t seem to attack any more than they already had been, sitting back to defend was their gameplan for much of the game. It was very surprising when in the 87th minute, Burnley drew level. Taylor’s left-wing cross was flicked on by Vokes and Gudmundsson gets around the Liverpool defence to find himself unmarked at the far post for a chance to score the equaliser from close range. Burnley 1-1 Liverpool
With only three minutes of regular time left to play it seemed like another one of those “dreaded draws” were likely to happen once more for Liverpool. Our fans have had enough of those already this season. Any goal scored now would relieve the frustration of going through all that once more.
The referee would add four minutes of extra time to the game at the 90th minute. Liverpool needed every last minute because Ragnar Klavan would surprisingly score in the 94th minute. Dejan Lovren had taken a free kick, getting the ball deep into Burnley’s penalty area. It would be Klavan who raced through the rain to get his head onto the wet ball in mid-air and made it Burnley 1-2 Liverpool.
Klavan’s taken a lot of criticism this season, being one of the main reasons why Liverpool fans cried out for a new defender to be brought to the club (and Virgil Van Dijk’s transfer being so important). With all his mistakes made though, he’s seemingly forgiven now. The Liverpool fans went crazy with love and appreciation for this guy, who’d stopped the dreaded draw and brought Liverpool a victory. All three points for us and the match-winner was Klavan’s. Plus, he’d been assisted by another defender who has also been under just as much fire from our own fans – Dejan Lovren.
Klopp has more to think about when considering the team’s defensive options. Van Dijk will certainly still claim his place in our defence soon but it will actually be a tough decision on who to pair him up with since Klavan and Lovren have been proving themselves to be not so bad after all.
Man of the Match
Saying that Klavan’s goal “means a lot” to Liverpool fans would be a serious underestimation. He saved us. He claimed 3 points for us, when it was important that we showed everybody that 2018 was going to be a prosperous year for Liverpool, from the very first game we’d have to play. He did it with hard work and determination that showed Liverpool were not going to just accept a draw in the 94th minute of a rainy night in Burnley.
Ragnar Klavan gave us an important victory and a happy new year.
An important FA Cup game against Everton will be soon to come and Virgil Van Dijk should be making his debut in this Merseyside Derby which never disappoints. You won’t want to miss this one!
Walk on with hope in your hearts and You’ll Never Walk Alone, Anfield Family.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.