Burnley earned a huge point in their pursuit of European football on Saturday, as they drew 1-1 with champions Liverpool at Anfield.
The Reds were in control in the early stages, as Nick Pope pulled off a brilliant save to deny Mohamed Salah, clawing the Egyptian's shot away from goal. Pope won the second battle between the pair, this time positioning himself well to keep Salah out with his leg.
Liverpool's persistence finally paid off, taking the lead through an unlikely source. Fabinho floated the ball into the box, and Andy Robertson was there to perfectly guide his header into the top corner and draw first blood for the champions.
Out of nothing, Burnley drew themselves level after the second half drinks break. James Tarkowski headed it back to Jay Rodriguez, as the Clarets striker turned and excellently drilled it into the bottom corner, dragging the visitors back into the game.
Key Talking Point
With the title wrapped up and nothing left to play for, Liverpool still put out a strong team to secure the win. Jürgen Klopp gave a fifth straight game to Neco Williams and a Premier League debut to Curtis Jones, with all eyes certainly on the young pair at Anfield. They, along with the rest of the team, started positively with a wealth of chances, but could not find a way past Nick Pope in goal.
Robertson's goal was a relief for the Reds, giving them a deserved lead to mark a dominant display. But for all their chances and possession, they could not repeatedly break down the visitors, still struggling to find a way through. The game seemed to be in their hands, but the equaliser after the break changed the course of the game, as Liverpool had to push hard again.
Liverpool should have had the game wrapped up long before, but instead found themselves having to battle for the win. While they put in a decent performance, the attacking trio was very quiet, squandering their few chances in front of goal. They should have taken all three points, but a surprising lack of cutting edge and failure to break down the visitors cost the Reds on Merseyside.
Starting XI: Alisson (6); Williams (6), Gomez (6), van Dijk (6), Robertson (7*); Wijnaldum (6), Fabinho (7), Jones (6); Salah (6), Firmino (5), Mané (6).
Substitutes: Alexander-Arnold (6), Keita (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A).
Andy Robertson had a solid game on the left flank, scoring with a superbly taken header. It was only his second league goal of the season but a brilliant one, along with his work rate all afternoon and his ever impressive attacking play for Liverpool.
Key Talking Point
While it was a huge ask to take any points away from Anfield, Burnley needed a good string of results if they wanted to earn a Europa League qualifying spot. They were on the ropes for the majority of the first half, but demonstrated their typical defensive resilience to keep the hosts out. Nick Pope was outstanding in goal, while James Tarkowski was a standout figure at the back.
The Clarets were unlucky to go behind to Robertson's header, but they stayed focused and worked hard to get back in the game, deservedly finding an equaliser through Jay Rodriguez's fantastic strike. A goal out of nothing but a just result for their hard work, though Burnley would not have been in that position were it not for their resolute defending.
Burnley are renowned for their organisation and discipline at the back, but it really came into fruition as they earned a point at the home of the champions. Sean Dyche's side can be extremely proud of their performance, becoming the first team to take points off Liverpool at Anfield.
Starting XI: Pope (8*); Bardsley (6), Long (6), Tarkowski (7), Taylor (6); Pieters (6), Westwood (6), Brownhill (6), McNeil (6); Wood (6), Rodriguez (7).
Substitutes: Gudmundsson (6), Vydra (6).
There was no doubt who was Burnley's standout man, as goalkeeper Nick Pope had a blinder of a game. The Clarets keeper made a remarkable eight saves in between the sticks, many of them world class stops in a wonderful performance from Pope. He has certainly shown his worth once again, sending out a reminder that he is capable of being England's number one.
Liverpool face two of the big six next week, starting with a trip to north London to play Arsenal next Wednesday. The Reds will then be back at Anfield to lift the Premier League title, as they host Chelsea in their final home game of the season on 22 July.
Burnley have a big test up next in their battle for European football, when they welcome fellow European contenders Wolves to Turf Moor next Wednesday. Sean Dyche's men then travel to east Anglia, as they meet an already relegated Norwich on 18 July.