Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Sterling Effort At Turf Moor

The packed festive period continued yesterday as Liverpool travelled to face Burnley at Turf Moor with the Clarets eager to get out of the bottom three and extend their recent good form.

The Reds fielded the same starting eleven from the Arsenal draw but there was a surprise inclusion on the substitutes bench in the shape of  17-year-old Academy starlet Sheyi Ojo who was included after a run of great performances for the U19's.

Liverpool looked to get off to a good start and came close inside five minutes as Raheem Sterling looked to test Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal after a well-worked counter attack but sadly could only hit an effort past the far post.

The home side responded well and had a chance of their own in the 15th minute when Danny Ings found space to connect to a throw in before driving a shot at goal only to see it cannon against the post.

Brad Jones' afternoon was cut short as he left the field with a knock just a minute later with Simon Mignolet entering in his place and hoping to silence the critics after a run of poor form but could only watch as Ashley Barnes headed over the bar from a Dean Marney cross.

Liverpool did cause a threat though on the half hour mark as Steven Gerrard swept a pass to Adam Lallana but despite finding some space, the midfielder saw his eventual effort blocked by Heaton. Burnley came achingly close to breaking the deadlock when a clearance from Mignolet fell for Scott Arfield who looked to volley into the bottom corner only to be denied by a superb block from Lucas.

The home fans were off their feet again when George Boyd headed at goal but in despair as the effort narrowly missed the target in the last chance of the half which signalled a chance for Liverpool in the second period as Emre Can replaced Kolo Toure.

There was no instant impact from the chance but the momentum began to build and just two minutes after the hour mark, the visitors broke the deadlock as a superb piece of control from Phillipe Coutinho led to him scooping the ball over his own shoulder and perfectly into the path of Raheem Sterling who collected the ball before rounding Heaton and firing into the net.

After earning a brilliant assist, Coutinho came close to scoring himself as he displayed stellar skills in outfoxing three Burnley defenders before aiming for goal and seeing his effort deflect off target before making way for Rickie Lambert later on. Lambert went one better than his teammate by putting the ball into the net but to his dismay saw the effort chalked off for offside as Liverpool held on for a vital away win.