3 Key Battles That Could Decide the New Year's Day Clash Between Burnley and Liverpool

Burnley and Liverpool clash at Turf Moor on New Year's Day, with both sides keen to see in the new year with a positive result.

The hosts have stuttered in recent weeks, having failed to win in their last four Premier League outings.

Jurgen Klopp's goalscoring juggernaut has continued to roll on in recent matches, with Liverpool  netting 14 times in their last four matches.

With continental qualification on the line for both sides, we analyse three key battles that could decide the outcome of this one...

3. Ashley Barnes vs Joel Matip

In the absence of record £15m signing Chris Wood, manager Sean Dyche has been forced to dig deep in his squad to find a goalscorer.

Although not prolific, striker Ashley Barnes has stepped up to the plate recently with some big performances for the Clarets.

The 28-year-old provides an imposing physical presence, and Burnley will look to exploit his power by trying to unsettle an occasionally flimsy Liverpool backline.

Jurgen Klopp is likely to look to his key centre-back Joel Matip to organise their defensive line, and ensure that Barnes' threat is neutralised.

2. Phil Bardsley vs Sadio Mane

Liverpool's front line has developed a fearsome reputation this season, which has led to the creation of the 'Fab Four' nickname.

One of the key components to Liverpool's blistering counter attacks is the pace of Senegalese international Sadio Mane. The £34m signing from Southampton has been a revelation at Anfield since Jurgen Klopp bought him to the club last summer.

The 25-year-old has netted an impressive 17 league goals for the club in just a season and a half, and Burnley full-back Phil Bardsley is likely to be tasked with trying to keep the flamboyant frontman under wraps.

1. Ben Mee vs Mohamed Salah

The player of the season so far has undoubtedly been Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian has scored an astonishing 23 goals in 29 games in all competitions this season, top scoring in the Premier League with 17 goals.

It's been a meteoric rise for the former Chelsea man, deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho just three years ago, with Salah seemingly unstoppable at present.

Burnley will be looking to skipper Ben Mee to marshal the troops at the back as they look to nullify one of the most potent attacking lines in European football. 

The centre-back has earned widespread praise this season for some courageous performances, and will have to be at his absolute best once more to keep Salah at bay.