Premier League

Burnley 0-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as Fabinho strike keeps Reds title hopes alive

Craig Vickers
Fabinho celebrates
Fabinho celebrates / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Liverpool kept their Premier League title hopes alive as Fabinho's first half strike handed Jurgen Klopp's side a 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.

The Clarets started the contest with a great ferocity, constantly seeking to exploit the space in behind Liverpool's high defensive line with Maxwel Cornet darting in off the left hand side.

The visitors first threatened on the 20th minute mark when Naby Keita drew a stop from Nick Pope down to his right hand side from the edge of the area after he was teed up by Sadio Mane.

The game then descended into the chaotic when Liverpool screamed for a penalty after Mohamed Salah went down inside the penalty area. Referee Martin Atkinson waved away the visitors' appeals before Burnley burst down the other end of the pitch, with Wout Weghorst spurning a golden one-on-one opportunity.

Alisson was called into action seven minutes later when Virgil ban Dijk's scuffed clearance from a free-kick fell to the feet of Jay Rodriguez, but the former Southampton man could not sort his feet out quickly enough.

Mane tested Pope from a pinpoint Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick delivery before Weghorst passed up another threatening chance for the hosts. Sent through on goal, the Dutchman could only stab his effort past the post with Joel Matip closing in.

Burnley were eventually made to rue their spate of missed opportunities in the 39th minute. Alexander-Arnold's delivery from a corner was flicked on at the front post by Mane before Fabinho reacted first to stab home at the second attempt following a reflex stop from Pope.

The home side emerged from the interval with the same vigour which characterised their first half display. Unmarked, Ben Mee met a corner in the 50th minute, but he could only steer his header wide of the target.

Weghorst then unleashed from distance after shaking off the attentions of Thiago in midfield, but his effort was deflected and collected comfortably by a grateful Alisson.

Klopp was animated on the touchline, gesturing for his side to gain a semblance of control in the contest, and his charges nearly heeded his warning. Alexander-Arnold's low-driven delivery from the edge of the penalty area looked set to be tapped home by Mane at the far post, but Pope was alert to the danger and cut out the England international's cross.

Liverpool were pushing for a second to put the contest beyond doubt, and they very nearly had their wish in the 80th minute when Alexander-Arnold popped up inside the penalty area. He swivelled and aimed a cut-back towards Salah where Mee almost diverted the ball into his own net.

Substitute Diogo Jota ought to have added the decisive second goal for Klopp's men with four minutes remaining, but the Portuguese snatched at his effort under pressure from a sliding Tarkowski as the Reds seen the game out.

Here's how both teams rated.

Burnley player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Mohamed Salah, Erik Pieters
Pieters battles with Salah / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Nick Pope (GK) - 6/10 - Unfortunate that his initial stop from Fabinho in the first half ricocheted straight back into the Brazilian's path to open the scoring.

Connor Roberts (RB) - 6/10 - Easy to see why he has dislodged Matthew Lowton in the side, marshalling the dual threat of Mane and Robertson with composure.

James Tarkowski (CB) - 6/10 - His lofted passes out of defence were a huge weapon for Dyche's side.

Ben Mee (CB) - 7/10 - Looks very much back to his best after a shaky start to the campaign.

Erik Pieters (LB) - 8/10 - Handled the speed and physicality of Salah remarkably well.

2. Midfielders

Dwight McNeil, Naby Keita
Lennon tussles with Keita / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Aaron Lennon (RM) - 3/10 - Played on the margins of the game, even during the spells where Burnley were on top.

Ashley Westwood (CM) - 7/10 - Battled hard in midfield and his athleticism allowed Burnley to sustain their periods of pressure.

Josh Brownhill (CM) - 8/10 - The standout for Burnley in midfield, constantly releasing the ball early to spring his side in behind Liverpool's rearguard.

Maxwel Cornet (LM) - 7/10 - Constantly attempted to dart in behind the Liverpool backline when Burnley's midfielders received in space.

3. Forwards

Jay Rodriguez
Rodriguez on the ball / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Jay Rodriguez (ST) - 5/10 - Caused Liverpool problems dropping deep and linked very effectively with Weghorst in attack.

Wout Weghorst (ST) - 4/10 - His movement caused Liverpool problems, but he spurned a couple of great opportunities in the first half.

4. Substitutes

Dwight McNeil (LM) - 5/10 - Looked considerably more threatening than Lennon in his brief cameo.

Ashley Barnes (ST) - N/A

Liverpool player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Alisson Becker, Jay Rodriguez
Alisson sweeping up behind his defence / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Alisson (GK) - 5/10 - Spared Liverpool's blushes on a few occasions with his agility off his goal-line.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - 9/10 -
As usual, his set piece deliveries were on the money and he looked Liverpool's biggest creative threat from open play.

Joel Matip (CB) - 3/10 -
Failed to convince, with his distribution out of defence being particularly wayward.

Virgil Van Dijk (CB) - 4/10 -
A few hairy moments orchestrating Liverpool's high defensive line.

Andy Robertson (LB) - 6/10 -
Showed great energy to support Liverpool in attack, although he wasn't afforded many crossing opportunities.

6. Midfielders

Fabinho stabs home for Liverpool / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Fabinho (CM) - 7/10 - A crucial component of Klopp's side and he showed all of the best elements of his game, while grabbing the opening goal to boot.

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 2/10 -
Booked early in the first half for a late challenge on Pieters and generally looked off the pace all afternoon.

Naby Keita (CM) - 4/10 -
Produced a few threatening moments in the first half, but he drifted out of the contest.

7. Forwards

Roberto Firmino
Firmino on the ball / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Mohamed Salah (RW) - 3/10 - Uncharacteristically quiet, which is surprising given how sharp he looked off the bench in midweek.

Roberto Firmino (ST) - 1/10 -
Isolated upfront and failed to take his chance in Diogo Jota's absence.

Sadio Mane (LW) - 5/10 -
Provided the all-important flick-on for Fabinho's goal, although he was wasteful in front of goal.

8. Substitutes

Thiago Alcantara (CM) - 6/10 - Brought control to the Liverpool midfield.

Diogo Jota (ST) - 6/10 - The Reds looked considerably less potent in attack without his presence for 67 minutes.

James Milner (CM) - N/A