Liverpool v Burnley - Donzy's Match Preview

09 March 2017 07:43
Making the impossible possible?

Despite Sean Dyche's positive spin on the recent Swansea defeat, you will not get many Burnley fans going into Sunday's game against Liverpool expecting anything other than yet another away defeat.

Burnley's away record this season has not been acceptable but can the Clarets make the impossible, possible?

Liverpool accumulated a club record number of Premier League points in the first half of this season, the Reds are presently in first place in the Top 6 form league table, unbeaten in 9 games with 5 wins.

Despite this impressive run of form, Liverpool fans are feeling genuinely uncomfortable about Sunday's game. Jurgen Klopp's Reds have struggled this season to break down ultra defensive sides and have also proved to be susceptible to teams who play on the counter attacks. Burnley tick both boxes.

In there lies Burnley's first ray of hope. Can Liverpool come a cropper against a Burnley side with such a poor away record ?

What about the Liverpool team Burnley are likely to face?  Offensive wonder kid Sadio Mane was absent from the 2-0 Liverpool defeat at Turf Moor in August. Mane is now fully fit and is likely to stretch the Clarets' defence, creating room behind the lines for the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to exploit.

Burnley despite their poor away points return have consistently managed to retain their defensive shape and remain resilient. The question is, can they maintain this defensive discipline again on Sunday?

Key Liverpool players, skipper Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge have been absent from training this week and must be doubtful of making the Reds starting eleven.

Liverpool may not be able to put out their strongest team but with the size and quality of their squad, a couple of injuries should not present Klopp with an unsurmountable obstacle to beat Burnley.

On the other hand, injuries and suspensions have unsettled whatever the Burnley side Sean Dyche's is able to field. Burnley goalkeeper and captain Tom Heaton is recovered from the illness that side-lined him for the Swansea defeat and will replace emergency stand-in Paul Robinson.

The rumbustious Ashley Barnes is available again after suspension and Steven Defour is recovering from a hamstring injury and has been in training for the last 2-3 weeks.

Anyone who knows me and reads my stuff will not be surprised about my scepticism about the Defour/ Dyche relationship. Something is not quite right between the Burnley gaffer and the little Belgian maestro.

The trip to Anfield is likely to come too early for Icelandic winger Johan Berg Gudmundsson. The surprise last minute FA postponement of Joey Barton's disciplinary hearing means that that the Liverpool born Burnley cult hero could now feature at Anfield, provided he shakes off what is described as a minor hamstring injury.

Sean Dyche may well have almost a full squad to choose from with the exception of long term injury victim and midfield mainstay Dean Marney, who will be out until Christmas. Good luck Deano with your recovery.

Record signing Robbie Brady is taking time to settle into his new surroundings at Turf Moor. I seriously think some Burnley fans should get off the lad's back and get behind him against Liverpool.

It's surely only a matter of time before we see the best of Robbie Brady, his best mate and team colleague Jeff Hendrick also took time to settle. Hendrick has just returned from an unwarranted three match suspension and was seriously in need of game time in the Clarets' reverse against Swansea.

Andre Gray has been running hot in the Clarets last 2 away games and Burnley will need that again. I suspect along with many others, Gray is playing to get himself a big money move away from Turf Moor next season. As long as he does the business for the Clarets in the meantime and helps Burnley stave off relegation, I really don't care .

For eight second half minutes last Saturday in South Wales, Burnley fans dreamed of finally seeing that elusive first away win. For consolation and despite experiencing another disappointing away defeat, Burnley did score twice away from home for the first time this season.

With the grit and determination Sean Dyche's travel sick troops constantly display on the road, surely it can surely only be a matter of time before the Clarets' away voodoo is finally broken?

It will be a tough afternoon at Anfield on Sunday for certain. Burnley will have to do something "Unbelievable Jeff"' if they are to get that first away win of the season in Liverpool.

Now would be a great time for Sean Dyche to disrupt Jurgen Klopp again, if only the Clarets can summon up that little extra edge of belief to shock the global footballing world?

The Liverpool v Burnley match preview is written by Clarets Mad contributor and long standing Burnley fan Michael Donnelly, alias "The Donz". (TEC).

Source: DSG