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Liverpool vs Burnley preview: Resurgent Reds look to build momentum against visiting Clarets

Goal.com logo Goal.com 12-03-2017

Having put in a well-oiled performance to convincingly trump Arsenal at Anfield last Saturday, Liverpool will have nothing but a win on their minds when they host Sean Dyche’s Burnley on Sunday.

At the turn of the New Year, Liverpool were just six points behind league-leaders Chelsea and were certainly in with a shout to challenge for the elusive Premier League title. The confidence in the team was high but after a disastrous start to 2017, the title hopes have all but faded.

They managed just nine points from eight Premier League games in 2017 but, more strikingly, they dropped points against sides they were favourites to win. They managed to draw against Manchester United and Chelsea while Tottenham and Arsenal were brushed aside at home.

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But when the so-called ‘smaller’ teams such as Hull City, Swansea and Leicester came calling, Jurgen Klopp's side failed to turn up and often gift all three points to their opponents.

Which is why the Burnley game is a test Liverpool have no other choice but to pass on Sunday.

It is now all about harnessing the momentum picked up from the Arsenal win if they want to finish in the top four, with the Gunners and Manchester United breathing down their necks.

In the return fixture at Turf Moor in August, Sam Vokes and Andre Gray struck to consign The Reds to a chastening defeat, though Sean Dyche’s side have struggled on the road this season.

Burnley are yet to register an away win this season, and have lost eight of their previous nine away games in the Premier League, while Liverpool are undefeated in 20 of their last 21 home games.

The Clarets will be looking at Andre Gray to find the net against Liverpool again, while Sadio Mane is likely to pose a lot of problems for Michael Keane and co.

All signs point towards a routine home victory, but Klopp has to cohort his side to play with the same intensity and tempo they displayed against Arsenal.

Reds captain Jordan Henderson is still suffering from a bruised foot and is likely to miss out, while striker Daniel Sturridge is also a doubt. Dejan Lovren, however, is expected slot back into the first XI after overcoming a minor knee injury that relegated him to the bench against Arsenal last week.

As far as Burnley are concerned, Joey Barton picked up a hamstring injury last week in the dramatic 3-2 loss to Swansea and is not expected to feature on Sunday. But Tom Heaton (illness) and Ashley Barnes (served a one-match suspension) should return to the starting XI. Nick Pope, Steven Defour, Johann Gudmundsson and Dean Marney are still out.

Kickoff is at 16:00 GMT on March 12, 2017.

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