View from the Main Stand – Burnley (H)
Supply and Demand, words uttered multiple times a debate about getting a so-called golden ticket for a Liverpool match is ignited. As the title race continues to unfold, the number of tickets available appears to be sliding as each match progresses and the demand only seems to intensify with those who spend their time refreshing the Liverpool ticket page several times again frustrated by tickets appearing and vanishing before your eyes.
It took until Wednesday lunchtime to secure a ticket for the Midday kick-off and it was the furthest I’ve sat in the Main Stand away from the Kop since Wigan at home in February 2011.
With Manchester City’s victory on the Saturday night, Liverpool went into the game knowing they were 4 points adrift of the current leaders and were heavily expected to continue an impressive home record where avoiding defeat would mean only Manchester City with 37 and Chelsea with 86 matches would have had a longer unbeaten home run in Premier League history.
The match was about to see all sorts of drama unfold as well as the uncertainty of the British weather pattern with a day starting off with rain merging into a sun-kissed afternoon, with hailstorms thrown in for good measure. The lineup was confirmed around 11am and saw Adam Lallana included much to the consternation of some on Twitter with some comments bemoaning his inclusion but the England international soon made those tweeters scrambling for the delete button with a solid performance.
As Joel Matip failed to control a hopeful ball from Burnley, his touch gave Burnley an early corner and it was to see a rare occurrence as Ashley Westwood’s delivery ended up going straight in without any other touch despite at least 2 players appearing to infringe Alisson who was to be shown a yellow card by Andre Marriner for his remonstrations.
Liverpool didn’t rest on their laurels and went hunting for an equaliser with efforts from Firmino and Mane failing to reach the back of the net. Lallana though sent a lovely ball over to the right side for Mo Salah who linked up with Gini Wijnaldum before putting the ball on a plate for Roberto Firmino to tap in with both Tarkowski and Heaton failing to prevent the ball reaching the Brazilian
— Matt Purchase (@kopitesaint91) March 11, 2019
As Xherdan Shaqiri and Dejan Lovren warmed up on the side of the pitch, the heavens opened and hail began rapidly falling prompting Shaqiri to try unsuccessfully to pull his hood over his head whilst wearing a bib.
Thankfully Lovren was on hand to assist him and it was Lovren who would celebrate shortly with the hail having subsided temporarily with Sadio Mane as he put Liverpool into the lead after Lallana’s tackle saw Salah almost win the ball and with a venomous first time curling effort, Sadio Mane smashed it beyond a helpless Heaton before running towards the main stand to celebrate with the Croatian. It could have been 3 almost instantly as Salah snatched at an effort which ending up drifting wide.
Salah kept trying his best to get his name on the scoresheet including early in the second half, with a warm spring sunshine now covering Anfield, he attempted a curling effort from just outside the area and it would set the tone for the early parts of the second half as the reds almost laid siege to the Burnley goal with Firmino failing to either score or play in Salah before Wijnaldum headed over but as Jordan Henderson prepared to enter the field, the goal-kick from Wijnaldum’s header was short and as Heaton passed directly to Salah who raced towards goal but with the Egyptian hunting that 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool, Charlie Taylor managed to get a touch to deny him a goal but following up was Firmino who got his 2nd of the day.
Trent Alexander-Arnold sent a wonderful cross into the area to try and kill off the game as Sadio Mane managed to scoop a ball onto a bar and over with Andy Robertson waiting just behind up wanting a tap-in.
Mane then tried to unselflishly set up Robertson but the defender blocked the effort. Salah then had another effort prompting Heaton to make another save before Burnley set up a nervous finale as Bardsley’s ball in prompted chaos within the Liverpool defence with the substitute Gudmundsson to finish despite the attentions of Robertson.
Whilst some nerves may have started to kick in and some around me pleaded for the ball to be played into the corner, Firmino cleverly found Sturridge who played the ball behind the last defender for Sadio Mane to run on and get past Heaton and tuck into an empty net to secure 3 points for Liverpool and ensure that the Reds have a chance to go back to the top of the table when they travel to Fulham next Sunday.