The Christmas and New Year period of fixtures in the Premier League gets underway on Boxing Day and Burnley start off by welcoming Liverpool to Turf Moor.
The Premier League’s new boys are sitting in 15th place after their defeat to Tottenham at the weekend but can still climb up the table if they can beat Liverpool and other results go their way. While Liverpool’s defensive frailties might encourage Burnley’s players, Sean Dyche has admitted that they will find it tough against a team who appear to be rejuvenated.
Liverpool managed to secure a draw against Arsenal at the weekend with a late goal but definitely deserved more from the game given the dominance they held over the Gunners. They appear to have some of their old flair back but as yet have been unable to turn most of their chances into goals. Brendan Rodgers will surely see this game as a chance for his side to show they are on the way back.
Sam Vokes and Michael Duff will miss this game through injury but both should be back for New Year’s Day. Matthew Taylor and Stephen Ward are both out for the next few weeks and are looking at possible returns in mid-January.
Dejan Lovren could return to action against Burnley after missing the Arsenal game through injury, although he will have to oust Mamadou Sakho from the side. Suso, Daniel Sturridge and Glen Johnson are all out until January at the earliest, while Jon Flanagan remains the only injured Liverpool player with no return date.
- Burnley have not scored against Liverpool in the last four league matches between them.
- Danny Ings has been involved in half of Burnley’s league goals this season with four of his own and two assists.
- The woodwork has been struck 10 times at Turf Moor this season; more than at any other Premier League ground.
- Liverpool have yet to win a Boxing Day fixture under Brendan Rodgers.
- Las time Burnley were in the Premier League, Liverpool won both fixtures against them 4-0.
- The Reds are in their lowest league position on Christmas Day since 1992.
While Burnley have not played particularly well this season, Ings has been of their better players. He has made 14 appearances for the Clarets in the league so far. He has attempted 34 shots at goal but only has a shooting accuracy of 41%, and has contributed just four goals to the team. He has created 15 chances for his team mates and two of these have resulted in assists. This means that he has been involved in half of Burnley’s goals this season. The striker has completed 213 passes this season and this means he has a passing accuracy of 75%. He has only been able to win 45% of his duels with his 20% success rate in headed duels being particularly worrying. Having said that, Liverpool’s defence has been frail and Ings could be yet another striker to exploit that.
Sterling hasn’t quite reached the heights of last season but he has showed in recent weeks that he is getting closer to that level again. He has played in all 17 of Liverpool’s games this season and has scored three goals. According to Squawka.com, he has created 39 chances and has made four assists for his team mates. The winger has completed 434 passes this season, meaning that he has a passing accuracy of 80%. Sterling has won over half of all the duels he has been involved in and when you look at this statistic in more detail, he only has a losing percentage in headed duels which isn’t very surprising given his height. It is likely that Sterling will play up front again in the game against Burnley and if his improving form continues, he will be a significant threat to Burnley’s defence.
Burnley will be desperate to exploit Liverpool’s defensive frailties in an effort to lift them off the bottom of the table. However, while they have not picked up the results they would have liked, Liverpool have seen their performances improve and it is for that reason that I think they will win 1-0 on Boxing Day.