London, 22 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Burnley ended Liverpool‘s three-year unbeaten run in the Premier League at Anfield on Thursday after Ashley Barnes converted an 83rd-minute penalty for a 1-0 win.
In a one-on-one challenge for the ball, Barnes was tripped by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson’s hand and, after the referee pointed to the spot, Barnes confidently dispatched the winner.
“We knew if we kept believing we would get something,” said Barnes.
“We believe going into every game, we stayed resilient and in our shape and it paid off. It’s a great achievement.”
It is Burnley’s first league win at Anfield since September 1974, while Liverpool‘s remarkable home run without loss stops at 69 Premier League fixtures, a streak that began in April 2017.
The Premier League champions, who sit fourth in the table, have also failed to score in their last four and are still without a league victory in 2021.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp conceded “it’s my fault” when asked to explain Liverpool‘s lacklustre form.
“It is my job to make sure the boys have the right feelings and confidence. That didn’t work out,” Klopp said.
“Our decision making is the problem. If we score in our big moments it changes things but we did not.”
After being frustrated in a stalemate with current leaders Manchester United last week, it is the first time Liverpool have gone four Premier League games without scoring since the 1999-2000 campaign.
Divock Origi came closest to ending Liverpool‘s goalless run three minutes before half-time when the Belgian striker hit the crossbar.
Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah were denied by Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope in the second half as the England international completed an outstanding performance.
The hard-fought win for 16th-placed Burnley means Sean Dyche’s side are seven points clear of the relegation zone with a tally of 19.
“Our shape and diligence was excellent. The will of the keeper and defenders to keep a clean sheet,” said Dyche.
“We lack a bit of talent sometimes but not belief. When we get it right as a structure and a unit, doing the basics, it keeps you in a game. But it means nothing if you don’t get the result at the end of the season.”
Liverpool now have 34 points, six away from Manchester United, who they play in the FA Cup on Sunday.
The Reds’ latest luck was summed up before the game even started, when their captain Jordan Henderson was not in the squad due to a “minor fitness issue.”
It looked like Origi would bring an end to Liverpool‘s goal worries when he burst through to go one-on-one with Pope, but his shot clipped the crossbar and bounced inches away from the goal line.
Tempers flared between the teams in a melee after the half-time whistle when Fabinho and Burnley forward Barnes collided. Meanwhile in the tunnel, managers Klopp and Dyche were pictured by broadcaster Sky Sports arguing furiously.
“It was nothing out the ordinary – just two managers fighting to win a game,” Dyche explained.
Alexander-Arnold and Salah were left frustrated by an excellent night from Pope where he had all bases covered to keep his clean sheet intact.
Barnes kept piling the pressure on Allison and the Brazilian panicked when Burnley’s key man entered the box for a lobbed effort. Allison’s hand clipped Barnes’s ankle in a collision that led to a seismic penalty decision.
There was a pause for a deep breath before Barnes lashed a low strike in the bottom corner to secure victory at Anfield for the first time by a Premier League side since Crystal Palace achieved the feat three years ago.
Liverpool were record-breakers last year amongst a worldwide pandemic to claim their first league title for 30 years.
With eleven points between the top eight teams in the current campaign and Liverpool racking up unwanted records, the trophy holders’ hopes of a successful title defence hang in a tightly-contested balance.