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With only one day of rest, two teams in the top half of the Premier League (PL) go head to head at Turf Moor, where goals have been hard to come by all season. Seven scored and six conceded, that is all the goals Burnley have seen from their ten home matches this season. Making the most of it, those seven goals have seen them register five victories!
As can be deducted from the above, Burnley’s home matches have yielded a measly 1.3 goals per average this season. If there is a team that could change that, however, it is Liverpool. In only ten away games they’ve scored 27 and conceded 20 goals, for a match average of 4.7 goals! No team has scored as many when playing away, and only two sides have conceded more. With clear differences in playing styles, will it be the attack-minded Jurgen Klopp or defensive mastermind Sean Dyche who walks off with three points today?
Liverpool fans have much reason for optimism in 2018. They recently confirmed the signing of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, making the big dutch fellow the most expensive defender ever at £75 million.
Players to watch: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah alone has more direct goal involvements than Burnley have goals this season (18). Fifteen goals and five assists is the tally for the pacey Egyptian so far, only Harry Kane has more PL goals this season.
With Chris Wood still on the physio table, all eyes will be on Ashley Barnes to see if he can provide the goals for Burnley.
Stat attack: Liverpool’s last eight away matches (all competitions) have seen 42 goals – 5.25 on average per match. Burnley drew 2-2 here against Leeds in the Carabao cup, but apart from that there’s been over 2.5 goals in just one of ten games at Turf Moor. Furthermore, just one Burnley match in the last ten have seen both teams score (BTTS). On that theme, just one in the last eight H2H matches have ended with both teams scoring.
Winless at Anfield since May 2000 – a match which also completed Leicester’s last ‘league double’ over Liverpool – Leicester must hope that the Reds defence is as bad as its attack has been superlative. However, it comes as no surprise to see that Liverpool have scored more goals over the past ten league games than any other Premier League team (29), scoring nearly twice as many goals as Leicester in that time.
Liverpool have now won by 5+ goals twice this season. The second of those wins came on Boxing Day, in a rout 5-0 of Swansea, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to single anyone out for praise, saying: “If we play like we play in our good moments then the boys will be in good situations. They will all score.”
The Reds are, however, still a long way off breaking the record for the number of PL matches in which they have scored 5+ goals in a season – they are stuck on two right now. The current record was set in 2013/14, when Liverpool scored 5+ goals in no less than six league matches – although the title remained, as ever, elusive
Speaking of records, Liverpool are currently unbeaten in six home matches against Leicester. The historical record is eight unbeaten (1970-1978)
With a return of just one point from the last nine available, Leicester manager Claude Puel knows that his honeymoon period is now over. Claude Puel also appears resigned to losing a once-promising, but now redundant striker in Islam Slimani, recently saying: “It is difficult for me to say what will happen in the transfer window but it is difficult for me and the staff to manage all these players for the same position.”
However, the omens could be good if Leicester somehow have a lead at half-time, having won every league match in 2017-18 when ahead at the break.