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What Jurgen Klopp did differently at full-time as Liverpool send message to Man City

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Liverpool match verdict from Paul Gorst after a 3-1 win over Burnley at Anfield that moved the Reds back above Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

In a number of ways, this entire day was a neat encapsulation of Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League years at Liverpool. A home victory that furthered title credentials and took the Reds back to summit on a day that had earlier seen Manchester City leapfrog them, all played out against the backdrop of a landmark afternoon for Anfield that showcased the ongoing progress being made to the club’s infrastructure.

Throw in the trademark post-match fist bumps from the manager and this was just another day at the office for Klopp. Well, sort of.

At full-time of this 3-1 win over Burnley, the Liverpool broke from tradition of merely saluting only the Kop by turning and delivering those same famous celebrations to an Anfield Road end that had finally reopened in full to help the stadium play host to its biggest-ever league crowd.

There was even time to give the same treatment to the Main Stand to his left, too, as Klopp symbolically paid tribute to all that he has seen built during his time here, some 863 days after he personally began work on the Anfield Road development with the first spade in the ground.

Over 60,000 filled the stadium as goals from Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez took Liverpool above Man City and restored their two-point advantage. “It’s a team with a lot of quality and a stadium with a lot of history,” was Burnley boss Vincent Kompany’s succinct summary at full time. Klopp added: “This stadium always grew and grew but now it is sensational.”

Having earlier seen Erling Haaland’s double sink Everton at the Etihad to briefly give the champions top spot for the first time in 2024, the pressure was on the home side more than usual here, with Kompany – a man who knows all about that particular rivalry – leading out the Clarets with an additional incentive to deny his hosts.

After struggling to really trouble the visiting backline, Liverpool had their lead in simple fashion when Jota headed home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner as he made Premier League history with his 58th assist. No other defender has registered as many now and he’s only 25.

The Clarets’ equaliser came in similar circumstances when Dara O’Shea powerfully steered home past Caoimhin Kelleher, who was standing in for the unwell Alisson Becker and was one of five changes on the day.

Given the paucity of the first-half performance from a team who Klopp conceded were suffering with an outbreak of flu on Friday, it was tempting to suggest the half-time interval needed to involve the mass administering of Lemsips.
With Wataru Endo back on duty after a month with Japan at the Asia Cup, it allowed Alexis Mac Allister the chance to move further forward in his preferred No.8 position in the centre of midfield, but after starting to excel in the more defensive role, the World Cup winner was unable to exert similar influence further forward with just 27 touches in the first period, the second fewest of the Reds’ outfielders.
Mac Allister was much improved after the restart but it was the introduction of Harvey Elliott for Alexander-Arnold – who has suffered a recurrence of his knee injury – that proved to be the catalyst for Liverpool’s return to the top here as Curtis Jones saddled in at right-back in place of his fellow Scouser.
Elliott has had to be patient for his game-time this term, being preferred mainly for cup duty but within seven minutes of his emergence, he had supplied Diaz to make it 2-1. The England Under-21 international then clipped in a teasing delivery for Nunez to head home his 12th goal of the season across all competitions after Burnley had spurned a couple of gilt-edged chances themselves through David Fofana.

 

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