Liverpool vs Burnley | Thursday 21st January 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
It’s four league games without a win for Liverpool, and it’s left the defending champions in fourth place heading into this home game against Burnley.
Jürgen Klopp’s men have drifted to 4/1 (Sky Bet) to defend their title following the recent upturn in form from the blue half of Manchester, while the red half also has keen interest – and let’s not discount Leicester.
Sunday’s goalless draw with Man United was Liverpool’s third consecutive league game where they’ve failed to break down their opponents. And, it was Alisson who was the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Burnley are hovering in a perilous position just above the drop zone. They do have a four-point advantage over Fulham, but Scott Parker’s side looks to be on the improve.
Sean Dyche will hope that the recently completed takeover will mean he has cash to splash to improve this thin-looking squad. One department that does need bulking up is goal threats.
The Clarets are the lowest scoring side in the top-flight (9) and average just 0.5 goals per game. On top of that, no side has had fewer shots on target than Burnley’s 48 – that’s just 2.8 per game.
They do have one thing in common with Liverpool though – they’ve also failed to score in the league in 2021. They’ve lost back-to-back games 1-0, while their last four have finished with that score (W1, L3).
In away games, they’ve netted just four times and have failed to score in six of their last seven. When they did score, it came from the head of an opposing player – Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The betting angles
Despite being heavily odds-on, Liverpool haven’t put teams to the sword of late. Their approach play has been a little cautious at times and it seems to be lacking the intricate, one-two touch football in and around the opposition area, which makes them so potent.
The Reds have struggled to hit the heights that saw them demolish Crystal Palace 7-0; Since then, Liverpool have scored just one goal from 62 shots in their last four league games – a 1.6% conversion rate.
In this one, they face a stubborn Burnley side that has already kept six clean sheets this term. So, my initial thought was to look towards Burnley +2 on the Asian handicap at 5/6, but I’m willing to be braver.
We all know the quality Liverpool have in attacking areas, but it took Man Utd 71 minutes to break Burnley down nine days ago. And it’s fair to say the defending champions have struggled against those sides lower down the table.
It’s games like this that they’ve stumbled in – that’s highlighted by draws with Brighton (16th), Fulham (18th) and West Brom (19th).
I can see Klopp’s men having enough to scramble the three points, and that’s why backing them to win by a one-goal margin is the way to go at 3/1.
Of their nine league wins, four have been by a solitary goal – all of them at home. They came against Leeds (12th), Sheffield Utd (20th), West Ham (7th) and Spurs (5th). Plus, Burnley’s recent run of 1-0s has seen that become their most common Premier League scoreline (28 matches).
The Clarets did hold Liverpool to a point here in July, but that came down to Nick Pope making numerous saves. This game should follow a similar pattern, where Liverpool dominate the possession and chances.
With the visitors averaging 43% possession this season, we know they’ll set their stall out and say to Liverpool ‘break us down if you can.’
The visitors will get through plenty of defensive work, and one man who could have his name taken is Robbie Brady. He’s had an injury-hit campaign but has still picked up two cards in nine starts.
The Irishman has committed 17 fouls in his 762 minutes of game time, and more recently his foul count has been 2, 4, 1 & 2 – all without punishment. But up against this opposition, and with Wirral cardshark Mike Dean in charge, the 4/1 looks tempting.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané do draw plenty of fouls and it’s the Senegalese international that is the third-most fouled player in the league. Those two are likely to interchange throughout the game, while Trent Alexander-Arnold will bomb forward from right back.
Brady did go unpunished by Dean for a couple of fouls in a game against Brighton earlier in the season, so hopefully, the ref has made a mental note of that.
For a player who has made 2+ fouls in five of his nine starts, then he’s sure to gain a bit of attention from the official. Brady can be a tempestuous character, so the 4/1 quotes can’t be ignored.