Burnley 0-2 Liverpool: Player ratings

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 Boxing Day win away at Burnley.

Liverpool took the lead very early into proceedings when Darwin Nunez opened up his body on the edge of the box to curl Cody Gakpo’s cut-back from the left into the far corner beyond the reach of James Trafford.

The Reds then went on to dominate the play and create multiple chances and thought they doubled their lead in the 27th minute when Gakpo smashed the ball into the roof of the net, only for it to be chalked off for the slightest of contact by Nunez on Charlie Taylor.

Ten minutes into the second half, VAR intervened again, denying Harvey Elliott a goal. This time, Mohamed Salah was adjudged to have been interfering in play by blocking the keeper's line of sight from an offside position.

This decision gave the hosts a boost and they pushed hard for the equaliser.

Then, just as Liverpool seemed to be under the cosh, substitute Diogo Jota sealed the win in the 90th minute with a neat finish from a tight angle.

Here are your player ratings…

Allison (GK): 6

Had absolutely nothing to do keeping-wise. Despite Burnley applying a lot of pressure in the second half, the Brazilian didn’t have to make a single save.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB): 7

Hardly put a foot wrong in his defensive work. However, it wasn’t his best game in terms of influence on the side’s attacking play, with his passing slightly off. That said, he almost sealed the win with five minutes to go with a left-footed volley that whistled just wide of the post. 

Jarell Quansah (CB): 8

Made an excellent tackle on the slide just as it looked like Zeki Amdouni was through on goal with the score at 1-0 with 10 minutes to go. This made amends for a breakdown in communication with Alexander-Arnold moments before, which resulted in his vice-captain being forced into giving away a yellow card. Otherwise, he was solid all day.

Virgil van Dijk (CB): 9

Marshalled the space well when Amdouni was breaking in the opening minutes, leaving the striker with no choice but to shoot from range. Controlled his defence excellently, ensuring that Quansah in particular was never exposed.

Joe Gomez (LB): 7

Eagerly got forward all game, but lacked the invention necessary, often looking awkward attacking on his left foot. Defensively untroubled.

Wataru Endo (DM): 8

Had a lovely left-footed shot clawed away low by Trafford. He's playing every game at the moment and, at present, he looks like the Reds’ most reliable midfielder. Broke up play incredibly well and was excellent in the air too, showing great anticipation. Showed great bravery in the middle of the park to win the ball which ultimately led to Jota's goal which sealed the win.

Harvey Elliott (CM): 7

Had a good early strike saved low by Trafford and should have had an assist when he played Salah through, but the Egyptian’s shot was blocked by the keeper. Was desperately unlucky not to get Liverpool’s second ten minutes into the second half when Salah was adjudged to have been blocking Trafford’s line of sight when he side-footed the cut-back from the right in off the near post. Was hooked shortly afterwards.

Ryan Gravenberch (CM): 5

Another low-key showing from the Dutchman, who was unsurprisingly hooked after an hour. His only notable contribution was his cutback to Elliott for his disallowed goal.

Mohamed Salah (RW): 7

Drew a top-drawer reaction save from Trafford with a right-footed volley early on. He then left the keeper totally stranded when he latched onto Gakpo’s through pass but smashed his strike onto the crossbar. Should have done better when Elliott played him through on the right just before half-time. In the second half, his influence on the game waned massively and was hardly involved at all.

Darwin Nunez (ST): 6

An excellent, controlled finish from the edge of the box gave his side an early lead. It was his first goal from outside the box at club level since December 2021 (for Benfica vs Sporting da Covilhã), with each of his previous 40 goals coming from inside the area. But besides this early contribution, he mostly frustrated by being caught offside and being ineffective in his link-up play.

Cody Gakpo (LW): 7

Surprised many by playing primarily from the left flank and was able to have much more of an impact than in recent games. It started well for him with an excellent assist, putting it on a plate for Nunez to open the scoring. Ought to have done better when he found himself free in the box moments later, snatching at a volley on his left foot. That said, he was very unfortunate to be denied a goal in the 27th minute when the referee blew for a very questionable foul by Nunez on Taylor. Unlucky to be subbed off after an hour.

Substitutes

Luis Diaz (Gakpo, 67’): 6

Should have sealed the win minutes from the end when Alexander-Arnold’s cross-field pass put him through on goal. His first touch wasn’t the best and it made the angle tighter, giving Trafford the chance to make the save. That said, he did get the assist for Jota - albeit in fortunate circumstances having messed up a chance of scoring himself.

Curtis Jones (Gravenberch, 67’): 6

Was better than the man he replaced, but only marginally. Was tidier in possession and held onto the ball well at times when his team was under pressure.

Dominik Szoboszlai (Elliott, 67’): 5

Gave the ball away a few times and fluffed his lines when he looked odds-on to score at the back post.

Diogo Jota (Nunez, 85’): 8

How we’ve missed him! Only on the field for five minutes and he sealed the win for his side with a finish no one else in the squad could have managed.

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