Liverpool defeat Burnley
Jurgen Klopp’s men posted two wins out of two by beating a hardworking Burnley 2-0. Diogo Jota opened the scoring with a deft header in the first half, before Sadio Mane finished off a brilliant team play to double his lead at the hour mark.
Here are five things 101 chosen from the game.
Football is nothing without fans
It seems like it’s self-explanatory, but after 18 months of listening to fan soundtracks on television as players play in a glorified training match, the passion and noise from the fans was a welcome return.
Anfield, known for its atmosphere, was packed to the brim, and when the players came out with a raucous rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, it really seemed as if the Merseyside team had their twelfth man back.
Harvey Elliot could be a valuable option
After a successful loan spell at Blackburn Rovers, all eyes were on the young Harvey Elliot when he made his Premier League debut against Burnley.
– Goal (@goal) August 21, 2021
After a timid first half, Elliot began to show Anfield glimpses of what he was really capable of in the second, with some strong runs and good touches. By switching between the left and right flanks, he offers Liverpool another option on their front line.
This, in turn, could prove vital throughout the season as both Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane will be called up for the African Cup of Nations in January and February. While Liverpool would probably like to see another broadband player come in, what they saw in his young talent will have encouraged them.
Virgil Van Dijk is a welcome returnee
Sounds obvious right? The Premier League’s best defender before his injury, but it was his full contribution today that seriously impressed at Anfield. The colossal center-back seemed to be the first head, boot or other part of the body in defense of Liverpool’s goal, and coincided with both Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood for his physique.
In Liverpool’s preparation he was also integral, showing his fantastic variety of passes. Liverpool’s second goal laid him bare, with the Dutchman finding a wonderful cross pass to push Harvey Elliot into the middle of Burnley.
Sadio Mane finishes off a wonderful team play 👏
Liverpool doubles their lead against Burnley …
Great Reds football! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/67pVNb4SdF
– Football at BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 21, 2021
Liverpool has strength in depth
With central defense now bolstered by the return of Van Dijk and the addition of Ibrahim Konate, it seems that the old argument of Liverpool’s lack of depth can no longer be aimed at Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Kostas Tsimikas brilliantly replaced the injured Andy Robertson, while the substitutions (with Thiago and Roberto Firmino in place of Naby Keita and Diogo Jota) made by Jurgen Klopp showed that there is a lot of strength in depth later on.
The real question is, will it be enough to fight for the title again this year after last season’s disappointment?
Burnley is still a tough nut to crack
Despite fears about the aging nature of his team, Burnley appears to be as hard-working and aggressive as ever. Lined up by Sean Dyche in their familiar 4-4-2, they offered plenty of questions to the Liverpool defense, and only the brilliance of Van Dijk and Joel Matip kept the Reds out of trouble.
It remains to be seen how the Lancashire team fares against lesser quality teams, and it’s still hard to see them on the right end of many high-scoring encounters, but they might have enough to hold their own once again.