Burnley vs Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp takes his 2020 champions to Turf Moor on Wednesday night with their title already handed over to Manchester City, but they still have plenty to play for.
The Premier League match between Burnley and Liverpool has real significance in the race for Champions League places as the fifth-place Reds hunt down Chelsea who hold fourth place with one point more.
With the league title won at a canter by the Sky Blues and relegation done and dusted, the race for the precious European place is all that’s left to resolve and Liverpool are in the thick of it.
The Premier League 2021 betting odds back a Reds victory, but neither side has done exactly what is expected of it this season.
Liverpool have lost nine games already and are a whopping 20 points behind the leaders. Burnley have comfortably survived another campaign in the top flight, though they have struggled to beat the bottom eight sides while coming away from Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool with victories.
And now the Reds want to take three points away from Turf Moor and have their revenge.
Alisson’s inspiration gives Liverpool a spark
You didn’t have to be a Liverpool fan to enjoy the dramatic closing seconds in the Reds’ 2-1 win away to West Brom on Sunday.
With the Baggies seemingly hanging on for a deserved point, Liverpool had a corner and keeper Alisson Becker came forward to add more pressure. But he did more than that, meeting the cross with a glancing header into the far corner to keep Liverpool’s Champions League hopes alive and kicking.
That made it three league wins on the run for Liverpool, following favourable Premier League 2021 results over Southampton and Manchester United. But the manner of the last gasp victory might just be enough to lift the Reds over the line while giving Chelsea plenty to think about.
Having just lost the FA Cup final to Leicester City, Thomas Tuchel’s Blues face the third-placed Foxes again in a league showdown on Tuesday before traveling to Aston Villa for a tricky last game.
Turf Moor with fans is a different proposition
The Clarets have gone on a nine-match winless streak at home with a hatful of draws on home turf and a handful of wins away easing them away from trouble.
But with 3,500 fans in the ground on Wednesday night there will be some noise in Turf Moor and that will make this a tougher game for the Reds.
Burnley’s new owners, ALK, have done a good PR job in giving the tickets away for free on an open ballot and Burnley have a habit of enjoying big nights under the floodlights with an electric atmosphere.
Klopp knows what he is dealing with as his team faces a Burnley side well-organised in defence, full of running in midfield and with a potent attack.
Chris Wood is a real handful, hitting double figures in each of the last four seasons and he is on 12 so far in this campaign, having recently formed a fruitful partnership with the quick and skilful Matej Vydra.
And the big striker has a great understanding with winger Dwight McNeil, who has provided six assists this season mostly for Wood.
We’re likely to see the return of England goalkeeper Nick Pope after he was rested in Burnley’s heavy defeat to Leeds at the weekend, and the normally resolute Burnley defence will be keen to get back to their best against their Merseyside visitors.
The Reds have had the better of the head-to-heads, winning nine of the last 14 meetings while Burnley have won three and there have been two draws.
But Sean Dyche’s men have taken four points from the last two meetings, drawing 1-1 at the end of last season and beating Liverpool earlier in this campaign.
A late penalty converted by Ashley Barnes gave the Clarets a famous win at Anfield to end Liverpool’s unbeaten Premier League home run of 68 games and start a sequence of home defeats which saw Klopp’s side fall quickly away from title contention.
That will be firmly in the German coach’s mind, as will the injury suffered by his long term absentee Joe Gomez, who was injured the last time he appeared at Turf Moor.