Liverpool v Burnley: Reds to pass test of mental strength

Jurgen Klopp accepts Liverpool must be more consistent
Jurgen Klopp accepts Liverpool must be more consistent

Liverpool have had encouraging recent wins against Tottenham and Arsenal, but can they back them up by beating Burnley? Kevin Hatchard believes the answer is yes.

"Liverpool have seen both teams score in six of their nine PL home wins this term, while Burnley have scored in defeats at Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City."

Back Liverpool/Both Teams To Score double at 85/403.1 (Sportsbook)

Liverpool v Burnley
Sunday March 12, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports

Liverpool

Consistency wins championships, and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp knows that if he is to one day break Liverpool's Premier League title drought, his side will have to be able to string wins together again and again. Leaders Chelsea won 13 league games on the spin earlier this season, while defending champions Leicester City got over the line last term with a run of seven wins in nine.

Liverpool have shown some signs that they can produce consistency for a while under Klopp, as they have won four league games in a row on two separate occasions this season. However, questions still remain. How can a team that has recorded wins over Chelsea, Manchester City, Spurs and Arsenal suffer all five of its defeats against sides who are currently in the bottom half of the table? Why can that relentless intensity be found on crackling Anfield evenings against the big boys, but not at Turf Moor or the KCOM?

It's a conundrum that Klopp has acknowledged, describing his players as being on a Premier League rollercoaster. Only wins against sides like Burnley will prove that true progress is being made, and that the toughness of his squad matches the undoubted talent it possesses, but Klopp remains positive. The former Borussia Dortmund boss is right to be upbeat, with LFC fourth going into the weekend. The Merseyside giants have only finished in the top four once in the last seven seasons (a certain Luis Suarez had a lot to do with that), and in four of those seasons, they ended up outside the top six.

Klopp says Daniel Sturridge and skipper Jordan Henderson are definitely sidelined, while Roberto Firmino is a doubt. James Milner - a justifiable favourite of Klopp's - is in line to make his 600th club appearance.


Burnley

Barring a total disaster, Burnley should secure safety in their first season back in the Premier League. This would be another ginormous achievement by Sean Dyche, who has unapologetically crafted a team with a direct style that has discomfited opponents all season long. Going into this weekend, no team outside the top eight has racked up more league wins than the Clarets, although all nine of those victories have come at Turf Moor.

Away from home, the magic dust escapes Dyche's men. They have picked up just two points on the road all season, scoring a pitiful eight goals. It's a curious dichotomy, because you would think a game based on consistent tactics and principles could be successful anywhere. The Lancashire side have picked up an unwanted knack of conceding late winners away from home (Arsenal and Swansea both scored in stoppage time to take three points), and Burnley have suffered losses at four of the current top five, with Liverpool now stepping up to the plate.

Dyche has remained humble, and admits his side must continue to work hard to improve their away form. He also accepts the Liverpool played very well in the reverse fixture, but were undone by Burnley's early pressing, which yielded two goals on the counter-attack.

Keeper Tom Heaton should return to the side after illness, while Joey Barton has recovered from a hamstring problem.


Match Odds

Liverpool are the clear favourites here at 1/41.25, and given Burnley's atrocious away record, that makes perfect sense. We can boost that price significantly by backing Liverpool to win, and backing both teams to find the net.

Six of Liverpool's nine home wins in the league this season have seen both teams score, while Burnley have scored in their last five Premier League away defeats. They scored at Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester City, so they have every reason to believe they can score against a Liverpool team that has kept just one clean sheet in its last eight Premier League outings.


Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Unders is the big outsider here at 6/42.5, and that makes sense. Liverpool have only drawn a blank once at home in the league this season, while Burnley are scoring but conceding on the road.


To Score

Burnley's defenders are strong in the air, but they face a test of speed against Liverpool's Sadio Mane. The Senegalese international has scored in his last two home games against Spurs and Arsenal, and he has netted eight times at Anfield this season. At time of writing he is trading at 8/111.73 on the Exchange to score in 90 minutes, but you can get 4/51.8 on the Sportsbook.


Recommended Bets
Back Liverpool/Both Teams To Score double at 85/403.1 (Sportsbook)
Back Sadio Mane to score at 4/51.8 (Sportsbook)




Kevin Hatchard English Football 2016-17 P/L

Points Staked: 39

Points Returned: 33.1

P/L: -5.9 points

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