Liverpool made it 13 league wins in a row and kept their first clean sheet of the season at Turf Moor on Saturday evening.
We reflect on their latest success and any Fantasy lessons learned in our Scout Notes article below.
Burnley 0-3 Liverpool
- Goals: Chris Wood (£6.3m) own-goal, Sadio Mane (£11.5m), Roberto Firmino (£9.5m)
- Assists: Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m), Firmino, Mohamed Salah (£12.5m)
- Bonus: Firmino – 3, Alexander-Arnold – 2, Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) – 1
After the much-documented defensive struggles of August, all was well with the world again as Liverpool kept a fairly routine clean sheet and broke their shut-out duck for 2019/20.
This was about as textbook a Liverpool result as possible, with Jurgen Klopp’s side winning to nil and all three of the Reds’ frontline delivering attacking returns for their owners.
Sadio Mane (£11.5m) didn’t cut a contented figure, however, with his 84th-minute substitution provoking an angry response from the Senegalese winger – apparently not at the substitution itself but at Mohamed Salah‘s (£12.5m) selfishness in a promising breakaway move that petered out moments before his withdrawal.
Jurgen Klopp admitted the Egyptian was the root cause of the tantrum but downplayed suggestions of a rift between the pair, saying:
He was upset, that was obvious. You cannot hide his emotions like that.
But all sorted. We spoke about it, everything is fine. We are individuals, we are emotional. It was a situation in a game obviously, what else could happen? It’s not a phone call. It was a situation in the game he wasn’t happy about and then that’s completely fine. Would he do it exactly the same manner again? Probably not, but it happens.
Nothing happened, he didn’t say any wrong words, it just looked a little bit different to how he looks usually. Of course, I can understand that it’s a little story. Thank God we are now away for a week, so if you write something about it, we will not read it anyway. And after a week, nobody can remember anymore, so it’s a really cool moment to do it.
But it is all good really, all fine.
Salah’s occasional greediness when on the ball is nothing new and we have seen the Egypt international dispossessed or shoot wildly from impossible positions on enough occasions over the past two seasons to not be too surprised by his myopia in Gameweek 4 – he was tackled on more occasions and had more efforts off target than any other FPL midfielder in 2018/19, often to the detriment of his fortunes on the Bonus Points System.
Salah can, meanwhile, point to the fact that he not only created more chances than Mane last season but also registered four times as many assists.
Aside from this mini-tiff, it was business as usual for the front three.
Mane converted a Roberto Firmino (£9.5m) pass to put the Reds 2-0 up before Firmino himself finished expertly when collecting Salah’s heavy touch to put the game to bed on 79 minutes.
The Egyptian’s owners may have been deflated at the lack of goal for FPL’s priciest asset but on another day he would have found the back of the net: Salah struck the woodwork after just four minutes before bundling the ball wide when advancing on Nick Pope (£4.5m) soon after.
Mane and Salah will, as they did in 2018/19, likely trade goals and points all season but Firmino is keeping pace with them at this early stage of the campaign.
With Fantasy managers restricted to three Liverpool slots, the Brazilian was the fall-guy last season as Mane and the Reds’ defenders offered much better value for money.
The link-up forward who has long been viewed as the least threatening member of Liverpool’s front three, Firmino has actually registered more goal attempts and shots in the box than his two teammates so far this season and it will be interesting to monitor the Brazil international’s underlying stats over the coming weeks to see if his output is being sustained.
For as long as Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) remains fit, owners of Liverpool’s defensive assets will retain hopes that the Reds can go close to matching last season’s clean sheet count of 21.
There is a lot of debate in the Fantasy community as to how much Aymeric Laporte‘s (£6.5m) impending absence could affect Manchester City’s solidity at the back but there is little doubt that, should any misfortune befall van Dijk, any lingering talk of a Liverpool defensive double-up would mostly evaporate.
Van Dijk was superb on Saturday, dominating Chris Wood (£6.3m) in the air and allowing Burnley’s much-vaunted strike partnership few sights of goal.
It wasn’t a completely flawless display and Liverpool’s high defensive line still gives occasional cause for concern, with Wood and substitute Jay Rodriguez (£5.8m) wasting excellent chances at either end of the game when breaking beyond van Dijk and the visitors’ backline.
Those were the only two saves that Adrian (£4.6m) had to make, however, and for the most part this defensive performance resembled the dominant displays of last season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.0m) registered his third assist of the campaign but this was one of the more flukier attacking returns imaginable, with the Liverpool right-back’s cross from deep taking a deflection off Wood and looping in over Pope.
Up until Liverpool’s quickfire double in the first half, Burnley had largely held their own against the European champions.
Fantasy managers who own any of the Clarets’ assets can put this 3-0 defeat to the back of their minds as this was perhaps the stiffest test that Dyche’s side will face until December, with Burnley now sitting top of our Season Ticker from Gameweeks 5-14.
There was enough encouragement against the ‘also-rans’ of Southampton and Wolves in Gameweeks 1 and 3 for those of us who are considering a Burnley asset or two over the next three months, with Saturday’s defeat merely a reflection of just how far ahead the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City are from the chasing pack.
Dyche said of the game:
I have got to be honest, I was pretty pleased with the performance overall. I don’t think it ends up a 3-0 game on the actual game.
The first one is unlucky, the second one is a mistake and until then I didn’t think there was a lot in it.
We held our own in so many ways but the details are so important in every game, especially against the top sides.
When the turnovers came in the game they were clinical. My only gripe is that we gave it away too cheaply, too many times.
It’s a strange one because I don’t think Popey has had too much to do, but we stuck at it and tried to ask questions and probe.
Ben Mee (£5.0m) made an uncharacteristic error for Liverpool’s second goal, while four-goal Ashley Barnes (£6.7m) drew a blank for the first time this season.
The in-form striker offered flickers of hope to his ever-growing band of owners, shooting wide from a similar position to which he scored against Wolves and being denied a certain goal by an Alexander-Arnold intervention.
Dyche made his first league line-up change of the season for this match, with Aaron Lennon (£4.9m) replacing the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£6.0m) on the right flank.
The Burnley boss gave an update on Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady (£5.5m) after full-time, saying:
Robbie will get minutes now. He’s not going away with Ireland cos he’s not ready for that. Hopefully he’ll get two 90 minutes in over the break which will bring him somewhat back up to speed.
Johann we’ll to wait and see on with his niggly calf. He’s not made it for the international trip so we don’t know whether he’s going to make it for Brighton in a couple of weeks.
Steven Defour (£5.5m) has now left the club by mutual consent, meanwhile.
For Liverpool, Jordan Henderson (£5.5m) hit the deck late in the game and was withdrawn soon after but the Reds’ skipper downplayed any injury concerns after full-time.
I was alright. I was fine, I don’t know, maybe the gaffer thought I was hobbling about a bit. But no, it’s fine.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes (Rodriguez 72′), Wood.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson (Oxlade-Chamberlain 70′), Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino (Shaqiri 84′), Mane (Origi 84′).
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