Manager Jurgen Klopp was pleased to see his side overcome testing conditions and difficult opponents as Liverpool won at bottom-of-the-table Burnley to record a fourth consecutive Premier League victory.
In wind and rain at Turf Moor, Fabinho scored the game’s only goal just before half-time, the midfielder stabbing the ball home from a corner.
“Everything was set up to be a banana skin for us,” said Klopp.
“The balls in the air were so tricky to defend because the wind came from all directions. We played the circumstances rather than suffered from them.”
Burnley, fighting for Premier League survival, had several good chances before Fabinho struck.
Josh Brownhill had a long-distance effort saved by Alisson, and January signing Wout Weghorst should have done better after racing through on goal.
Chances were few and far between in a scrappy second half although substitute Diogo Jota should have added a late second after a quick Liverpool break but shot wide.
“Most of their chances were offside but of course they had their moments, that is clear. They have quality but we dealt with it pretty well,” Klopp added.
“We have to work incredibly hard and that is what the boys did. We made our shirts dirty. I am really happy because I know how difficult it is to come here. Absolutely satisfied.”
The win means Liverpool are nine points behind leaders City with 14 games still to play, one more than their title rivals, who host the Reds in April.
With Sadio Mane available again after helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations, Klopp opted to restore the old guard and started with a front three of Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, with in-form Jota on the bench.
But in driving rain and a blustery wind, the visitors’ attacking trio often struggled to make an impact, although Mane did play an important role in the breakthrough goal.
The forward got a crucial flick on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner and Fabinho ran on to it, hitting a first-time strike that was blocked on the line before the Brazilian followed up the rebound to poke in.
The goal continued Fabinho’s impressive recent run of scoring form – it was his fifth in his past seven games in all competitions.
It secured an important three points from a game in which the Reds could easily have slipped up, with Burnley having held Manchester United to a draw on Tuesday.
Encouraging display by Burnley but wins needed
A win against a side chasing leaders Manchester City who had lost just once since 20 November was always going to be a difficult task for Burnley, but despite the result this was another encouraging display by the Clarets.
A combination of good saves and poor finishing was the only reason the hosts were not ahead before Fabinho struck and although Weghorst should have done better with a finish on the break, the striker once again put in an impressive performance.
He did, however, limp off midway through the second half and the Clarets will be hoping it is nothing serious because with his strength and height in attack and Maxwel Cornet’s creativity, Burnley have the tools to give themselves a fighting chance of staying up.
But Sean Dyche’s side have managed just one win all season and unless that record changes soon they could be cut adrift.
“That was a good performance against top class opposition but we didn’t take our chances,” said Dyche.
“I was pleased with the performance. Sometimes you have to forget where you are in the table because that performance will lead to more.”
Player of the match
with an average of 7.73
Squad number1Player namePope
Squad number9Player nameWeghorst
Squad number5Player nameTarkowski
Squad number14Player nameRoberts
Squad number20Player nameCornet
Squad number6Player nameMee
Squad number18Player nameWestwood
Squad number19Player nameRodriguez
Squad number17Player nameLennon
Squad number23Player namePieters
Squad number11Player nameMcNeil
Squad number8Player nameBrownhill
Squad number10Player nameBarnes
Squad number3Player nameFabinho
Squad number1Player nameAlisson
Squad number26Player nameRobertson
Squad number4Player namevan Dijk
Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
Squad number6Player nameThiago Alcántara
Squad number32Player nameMatip
Squad number10Player nameMané
Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
Squad number8Player nameKeïta
Squad number14Player nameHenderson
Squad number7Player nameMilner
19RodriguezSubstituted forMcNeilat 62′minutes
9WeghorstSubstituted forBarnesat 75′minutes
14HendersonBooked at 27minsSubstituted forThiago Alcántaraat 59′minutes
8KeïtaSubstituted forMilnerat 90+2′minutes
10ManéSubstituted forJotaat 67′minutes
Match ends, Burnley 0, Liverpool 1.
Second Half ends, Burnley 0, Liverpool 1.
Offside, Burnley. Ben Mee tries a through ball, but James Tarkowski is caught offside.
Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Naby Keïta.
Foul by Naby Keïta (Liverpool).
Ashley Westwood (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Burnley. Ben Mee tries a through ball, but Dwight McNeil is caught offside.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Connor Roberts.
Attempt missed. Diogo Jota (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Offside, Liverpool. Virgil van Dijk tries a through ball, but Andrew Robertson is caught offside.
Offside, Burnley. Josh Brownhill tries a through ball, but Maxwel Cornet is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the right. Assisted by Andrew Robertson with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Ben Mee.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Josh Brownhill.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Joel Matip.
Substitution, Burnley. Ashley Barnes replaces Wout Weghorst because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Fabinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Diogo Jota.
Offside, Liverpool. Andrew Robertson tries a through ball, but Roberto Firmino is caught offside.
Substitution, Liverpool. Diogo Jota replaces Sadio Mané.
Offside, Liverpool. Andrew Robertson tries a through ball, but Trent Alexander-Arnold is caught offside.
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