Burnley made their point at Anfield and Phil Neville possibly summarised the resolute Clarets performance best on Saturday night’s Match of the Day; “This team love to defend”.
Burnley absorb wave after wave of pressure, they did so against Spurs at Wembley, at home last week against Crystal Palace and most recently at Anfield yesterday.
And yet, opposing managers, media pundits and callers to radio phone-ins continue to express surprise that Burnley remain so steadfast in their refusal to yield.
Sean Dyche sets his team up, particularly away from home, to contain and compress, to deny space in their defensive third of the field and restrict passage into the penalty area. Burnley will win headers, make tackles and close down space. They will remain diligent, concentrated and they will not get tired.
Admittedly, at times, this is not much to look at and for us Clarets supporters it can be a buttock-clenching exercise in anxiety. However, Burnley are chiselling results out of some of the Premier League’s toughest slabs of marble and eight points from the first five games is an admirable start to the season.
I would further suggest that by adopting and honing this pragmatic style of play, Burnley have avoided the type of embarrassment meted out to Watford by a rampant Manchester City on Saturday.
At Liverpool, Burnley were boosted by Scott Arfield’s composed finish which gave them the lead; but when Mohammed Salah equalised soon afterwards, the smart money was on the home team pressing on to victory.
But it simply did not pan out that way and press as they might, Liverpool could not breach Burnley’s defences nor dent their resolve. On the odd occasion when they did glimpse a way through, they found stand-in goalkeeper Nick Pope on hand to repel them.
It must be acknowledged that Ben Mee was fortunate not to concede a late penalty, but equally, Mee was unlucky to have two goal-bound headers cleared off the Liverpool goal line, epitomising the slings and arrows of outrageous footballing fortune.
Burnley fans cannot expect to see their team sweep aside their opponents with slick attacking play and bewildering passing patterns, but what they can expect is a group of players prepared to strain every sinew in the tireless pursuit of victory.
Burnley are a team fashioned in the image of their manager; solid, dependable, honest and resolute. Those supporters who turn up expecting to see football flowing with creative brio are probably following the wrong team.
For Burnley fans, the heady heights of seventh positon in the English Premier League table is what dreamland looks like. Let's just relax and enjoy the view?
This Burnley centric match analysis was penned by ultra Burnley supporter and regular columnist for Clarets Mad, David Thornley. (TEC).