Liverpool vs Burnley : First-half goals from Sam Vokes and Andre Gray gave Burnley a surprise win over Liverpool, who could not recover after some disastrous defending. Nathaniel Clyne gave the ball away for the Clarets’ first goal, with Gray finding Vokes to blast home.
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Steven Defour, on his Burnley debut, was allowed to charge forward and set up Gray to roll home the second.
Liverpool had 81% of possession and 26 shots – but only tested Clarets keeper Tom Heaton with efforts from distance.
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The 19% of possession that the Clarets had is the lowest total by a winning side in the Premier League since Opta began recording the statistic in the 2003-04 season.
Burnley only had one other effort at goal, which was off target, but the figures belied how little threat the Reds posed when they came forward.
Liverpool were a shadow of the attacking force they were in last week’s thrilling 4-3 win at Arsenal and their second away game of the season ended in their first defeat of the new campaign.
The game had been switched to Turf Moor because work on the new stand at Anfield is not complete and, after losing to Swansea in their opener, Burnley made home advantage count this time to pick up their first points since their promotion.
Gray, who was playing for Hinckley United in the Conference North as recently as 2012, scored his first Premier League goal against Liverpool
The manner of their victory at Emirates Stadium had given Liverpool plenty of reasons for early season optimism but, unfortunately for them, the only part of that performance they repeated came at the back.
Left-back Alberto Moreno paid the price for his defensive errors at the Emirates, being replaced by James Milner, but right-back Clyne produced an even worse error that led to Burnley’s opener.
Ragnar Klavan also should have done better when he failed to stop Defour’s run forward, leaving Liverpool’s defence wide open for Gray to make it 2-0.
Liverpool looked to Philippe Coutinho for inspiration to break down Burnley but nine of his 10 shots (left-hand graphic) were either off target (red arrows) or blocked (yellow). His passing (right-hand graphic) was also uncharacteristically poor – although he made more passes than any other Reds player in the Clarets’ half, his display was littered with mis-placed passes (red arrows) and his only key passes (yellow arrows) were sideways or backwards rather than into the box
The Reds had problems at the other end too. Philippe Coutinho starred as Liverpool’s forward play gave them victory last week – but he was a long way short of his best on this occasion.
Time and time again the Brazilian picked up the ball in space on the edge of the Burnley area looking to bend in one of his trademark spectacular goals but, of his 10 strikes from similar range, only one brought a save from Tom Heaton.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told Match of the Day: “Our decision making was not good. We’d put in a good cross but there were no bodies in the box and then when we had bodies in the box we ended up shooting.
“The season is still pretty young. It doesn’t look like we are 100% fine-tuned. But it’s only the start of the season and I can see a lot of good things.
“The lesson here is don’t give the ball away like we did twice today. We will work on it 100%. We need to have a plan for deep defending teams. We have a few things to do – that is clear.”
The heat map representing touches for Burnley (l) and Liverpool (r) helps to illustrate the Reds’ dominance in possession – they played 852 passes to Burnley’s 207 – but they could not turn that into meaningful chances, let alone goals
As poor as Liverpool were given their amount of possession, credit must also go to Burnley for the work-rate throughout their team as well as their organisation and resolve at the back.
The Clarets out-ran Liverpool by 115.3km to 113km – and that industry was key to them defending their lead and securing the points.
When Liverpool did put balls into the box, Michael Keane and Ben Mee dealt with everything that came their way, ensuring Heaton was rarely tested.
His best save came from Roberto Firmino in the second half but, typically, that came from a long-distance shot.
Burnley’s strikers also deserve praise, with Vokes and Gray both able to celebrate the first top-flight goals of their career.
They barely had a kick for much of the game, but kept running and kept stretching Liverpool’s defenders when Burnley were able to counter-attack.
We have never been bogged down by possession stats – Dyche
“I thought we made Liverpool look uncomfortable,” Burnley boss Sean Dyche told Match of the Day. “We think we can be a threat to teams.
“We have never been bogged down with all the stats about possession. There is something marvellous when you see someone give everything to the cause. That’s what I thought we did.”
Man of the match – George Boyd (Burnley)
So many candidates for Burnley but Boyd gets the nod for his hard work in defence and non-stop effort to stretch Liverpool at the other end, too. His stats for distance covered (12.46km) and sprints (90) were the best of any player on the pitch and he won possession 10 times, more than any Burnley player
Liverpool’s road trip continues, first with a journey to Burton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, and then a tough-looking task at Tottenham in the Premier League next weekend.
Burnley are also on their travels. They leave Turf Moor for the first time for the short trip to Accrington in their EFL Cup second-round tie on Wednesday, then head to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea on Saturday.
The stats you need to know
The Clarets won their first league game against Liverpool since September 1974, having gone seven without a win since then.
Sam Vokes became the first Burnley player to score a league goal against Liverpool at Turf Moor since Ray Hankin in March 1975 – they had failed in six games since then.
Burnley scored more in this game than they managed in seven previous home Premier League games.
Vokes scored his first Premier League goal in his 28th appearance in the competition.
Liverpool have only kept one clean sheet in their past 11 away Premier League games (6-0 v Aston Villa).
Since Jurgen Klopp took over, only Aston Villa (12) and West Ham (10) have had more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than Liverpool (nine).