Lucky 13 as run continues

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino resorts to acrobatics in an attempt to beat Burnley's James Tarkowski to the ball. The Reds won the Premier League game 3-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday. PHOTO: REUTERS
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino resorts to acrobatics in an attempt to beat Burnley's James Tarkowski to the ball. The Reds won the Premier League game 3-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday. PHOTO: REUTERS

Despite pre-season struggles, Reds maintain league win streak with front three firing again

BURNLEY • Jurgen Klopp admitted he has been surprised by Liverpool's 100 per cent start to the Premier League season after a 3-0 victory at Burnley on Saturday kept his side two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

The European champions struggled in pre-season, losing three times, as they had to cope largely without Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane after their participation in international tournaments during the summer.

But all three have picked up where they left off last season as Klopp's men extended their winning run in the Premier League to a club record 13 games.

"If you ask me four weeks ago I wouldn't expect it would happen," said Klopp. "We had a tricky pre-season. No pre-season for the front three but they still deliver."

Some luck was needed in their first-half opener. Trent Alexander-Arnold was clearly looking to deliver a cross into the box, but the ball flicked off Burnley's Chris Wood and looped over goalkeeper Nick Pope into the far corner.

The Clarets played a huge part in their own downfall moments later when Ben Mee gifted possession to Firmino inside the hosts' half. The Brazil forward strode forward before releasing a perfect pass so Mane did not have to break his stride in finding the bottom corner.

Firmino then became the first Brazilian to score 50 Premier League goals when he found the bottom corner from just outside the box 10 minutes from time.

"On transition they are deadly," said Burnley boss Sean Dyche. "We gave them too many cheap turnovers in dangerous areas.

"They were the better side and deserved to win the game but 3-0 doesn't really reflect the game."

Reds defender Virgil van Dijk was pleased with a first clean sheet this season. He told Liverpoolfc.com: "They have a clear plan, very direct, second balls, a hard fight, and I think we dealt with it pretty well. "

Klopp also calmly handled the one flashpoint that came when Mane reacted angrily to being substituted moments after Salah choose to go for goal himself rather than squaring for his teammate, who appeared in a better position.

"He was upset, that was obvious, Sadio cannot hide his emotions, I like that but (it is) all sorted (out), we spoke about it," said Klopp, who said Mane was not reacting to his substitution.

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    Goals Roberto Firmino has scored in the Premier League, the first Brazilian to do so.

"Everything is fine, we are individuals, we are emotional, it was a situation in the game obviously, what else could happen, it was not a phone call, there was a situation in the game he was not happy about and that is then completely fine."

While the German played down the incident, he also suggested he was not entirely happy with the way his forward behaved.

"Would he do it exactly the same manner again? Probably not but it happened. He didn't say any wrong words, just looked a little bit different to how he looks usually. It's all fine," he said.

The Premier League now heads into the international break and Klopp joked that it was good timing.

"In a week nobody will remember it anyway," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Lucky 13 as run continues'. Print Edition | Subscribe