These have not been easy weeks for Liverpool. With uncertain form has come indifferent results and as a consequence their lead at the top of the Premier League has disappeared beneath their feet.
So when referee Andre Marriner failed to spot a clear foul on Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson as Burnley’s Ashley Westwood swung a corner straight in to the goal in only the seventh minute, Jurgen Klopp’s players may have feared this was not going to be their day.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson 6; Alexander-Arnold 6 (Sturridge 85mins 6), Van Dijk 7.5, Matip 6, Roberston 6.5; Wijnaldum 6 (Henderson 67mins 6) , Fabinho 7, Lallana 7 (Keita 76mins 6); Salah 7, Firmino 7, Mane 8
SUBS NOT USED: Lovren, Mignolet, Shaqiri, Origi
SCORERS: Firmino (19, 67), Mane (28, 90)
BOOKED: Alisson, Fabinho
MANAGER: Jurgen Klopp 7
BURNLEY (4-4-2): Heaton 5.5; Bardsley 6, Tarkowski 5.5, Mee 6.5, Taylor 6; Hendrick 6 (Gudmundsson 78mins 6), Westwood 6, Cork 6.5, McNeil 6; Wood 6 (Crouch 78mins 6), Barnes 6 (Vydra 85mins 6)
SUBS NOT USED: Lowton, Brady, Gibson, Hart
SCORERS: Westwood (6), Gudmundsson (90)
MANAGER: Sean Dyche 6
REFEREE: Andre Marriner 5
The Liverpool centre forward will not score two easier goals than these all season but that does nothing to detract from their importance. An afternoon that started terribly was now destined to be something altogether more enjoyable for the remaining 20 minutes or so.
A lovely pass inside the full back from Fabinho released Alexander-Arnold down the right in the 81st minute and it seemed Liverpool must score a fourth as players arrived at the far post. Andrew Robertson certainly would have converted but Mane arrived before him and, on the stretch, diverted the ball down and up against the crossbar and over.
Heaton then saved athletically from Salah before the game ended as curiously as it had started.
Burnley had hardly mustered a shot since their goal but in the first minute of injury time they scored again as substitute Gudmundsson profited from some absent Liverpool concentration to score at the far post. Again, Alisson may have done better and this time there was no foul.
Briefly, Liverpool hearts fluttered. With two minutes left and Burnley playing with sudden hope of a miracle, Alisson had to come and collect a cross from deep under pressure. Momentarily Liverpool seemed unable to keep the ball but the last act of the day belonged to the home team. Daniel Sturridge picked up possession in the Burnley half and as the visitors defence was caught square, he released Mane who rounded Heaton to score.