Jones shows there’s more to come
This time there was no blockbuster moment for Curtis Jones. The teenage midfielder lit up the FA Cup with that stunning winner against Everton back in January – a lifetime ago now – and scored against Shrewsbury in the next round too, before the young Reds were knocked out by Chelsea. In his first Premier League start here against Burnley there was no such moment, but it was the only thing missing from a composed performance.
For a player who has caught the eye with some magical moments in his nascent career so far, it was not the touch in front of goal but the more simple midfield work that impressed here. Jones kept the ball moving quickly and played several sharp one-touch passes in the final third into better positioned teammates when a more selfish player might have tried something too ambitious. Only the finish was lacking, but he got in the right positions on several occasions, and on this evidence there will be plenty more chances around the corner.
England’s No 1?
Aged 28, Nick Pope is in the form of his life, having made the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season with 14. Gareth Southgate has given Jordan Pickford plenty of rope, rightly so given his performances at the 2018 World Cup and the experience he’s gained of winning a penalty shootout for England. But might the pecking order have finally shifted?
While Pickford has made a number of errors this season, both Burnley’s Pope and Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson (on loan from Manchester United) have been almost peerless. Pope has been particularly impressive, and his shot-stopping instincts were on show again at Anfield as he kept out rasping shots by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. With Euro 2020 pushed back 12 months, perhaps now Southgate has a window of opportunity to back the man in form.
How do you beat Liverpool at Anfield?
OK, admittedly this is something we didn’t learn. It is more than three years since Liverpool last lost a home game in the Premier League. Virgil van Dijk and all those signings that have followed have still never tasted defeat in the league at Anfield. Burnley battled hard and took a deserved point for their efforts, but the run goes on, and it remains a mystery as to exactly how this Red machine is broken.
There’s only one Sean Dyche
If this is to be Sean Dyche’s final hurrah at Burnley, amid well-publicised disagreements with the club’s hierarchy, he is going out in style. For from throwing in the towel, his players have galvanised around their manager. They are above Tottenham in the league, level with Arsenal on 50 points, and if Dyche is to depart at the end of the campaign he will not have any trouble finding a new job in the top flight. The more pertinent question: how would Burnley replace him?
Firmino can’t break his duck
Roberto Firmino’s drought goes on. It seems an odd quirk in the statistics that the Brazilian has scored eight Premier League goals this season and not a single one has come at Anfield. Here he could not have come any closer, slamming a shot against the inside of the post, and grinning ruefully. Perhaps it is just not meant to be.
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