A goal in either half was enough to steady the ship in the midst of frequent waves of pressure from Sean Dyche’s men, as Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane got on the scoresheet with two finishes that came at the end of great passages of play. The win maintains a 100% start to the new Premier League campaign for the red half of Merseyside and, temporarily, moves them to the top of the table.
The possession game was always going to pay dividends if they kept their foot on the gas, and as the match trickled into the second half, Liverpool really kicked on and began to assert their dominance in the final third. They built off of the counterattack and found a rhythm that saw the visitors struggle to keep up with the intense pace they were forced to endure.
The Reds came flying out of the blocks, and in the first 15 to 20 minutes, that created an uneven balance that saw them get dragged into a sloppy duel with the Clarets. They were slow to track back defensively and at times allowed Burnley to have too much time on the ball, which, in turn, created some nervous moments that the back four were thankfully quick to deal with.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Jurgen Klopp was tactical in his team selection with Harvey Elliott‘s tenacity proving to be a problem for Burnley, whereas on the bench, he left a handful of capable midfield options ready to be introduced if need be. The German boss stuck to his guns with the starting XI playing through until the final 10 minutes, which just goes to show the team cohesion within this first-team squad.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 8 — The Brazilian had to grow into the game after looking nervous when coming off his line but in the end a few solid instinctive saves were enough to maintain the clean sheet.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 9 — One of Europe’s top full-backs controlled his side of the pitch, constantly ran at Burnley’s defence and provided one of the best assists of the year through one simple flick of the boot.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 8 — After being beaten at the near post once or twice, Van Dijk simplified his movement and instead focused on pinging delightful crossfield balls out wide — which he did successfully.
DF Joel Matip, 8 — Took charge of his centre-back partnership with Van Dijk through a solid aerial presence and the kind of physicality every Liverpool fan will be happy to see.
DF Kostas Tsimikas, 7 — Was often targeted and pinpointed as the “weaker” man for Burnley to focus on, and yet even though he faded, the real headline was his cracking cross for the opening goal.
MF Harvey Elliott, 8 — The 18-year-old was always eager to get on the ball, harassed the opposition at every available turn and was at the forefront of Liverpool’s attacking moves 90% of the time.
MF Jordan Henderson, 9 — Captain Marvel is back with a bang after providing fans with another quintessential midfield performance, featuring everything from top spatial awareness to a positive box-to-box mentality.
MF Naby Keita, 8 — Refused to allow any type of press that came his way and found the perfect pocket of space for the Reds to exploit for their first goal.
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 — Was unlucky to see his finish chalked off for offside on a day that provided another example of why he’s far more well rounded than critics give him credit for.
FW Diogo Jota, 8 — The energetic Jota relentlessly brought others into the mix and proved why he’s keeping Roberto Firmino out of the team with a perfectly timed header to give Liverpool the lead.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 — Everything about Mane’s afternoon was positive aside from his lacklustre finishing — that is, right up until the 69th minute when he put his side 2-0 up with a lovely half-volley.
DF Joe Gomez, N/R — Served as a pleasant surprise for the Anfield faithful as they saw him get a few minutes on the pitch before the whistle blew.
MF Thiago Alcantara, N/R — Was rusty during his brief stint on the pitch but will obviously come into his own as the season goes on.
FW Roberto Firmino, N/R — Provided a few nice touches and a half-hearted shot in a simple enough cameo.