LONDON (Agencies): Two goals from Roberto Firmino and another two from Sadio Mane — who has scored in six successive Anfield games — saw Liverpool come from a goal down to beat Burnley 4-2 and move within a point of leaders Manchester City.
After a low-key opening the visitors, only two points clear of the relegation zone, stunned Anfield by taking an early lead. Joel Matip gave away a needless corner and Ashley Westwood’s kick flew through the area, with Liverpool keeper Alisson caught between Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Jack Cork as the ball went in at the far post.
Alisson appealed in vain for a foul but Liverpool swept forward in search of a quick equaliser, almost finding it when Mohamed Salah released Firmino, whose shot was deflected over. Mane missed a headed chance but the home side were level after 19 minutes when Salah got down the right and his cross was missed by goalkeeper Tom Heaton and Tarkowski, leaving Firmino to tap in.
With the hail lashing down Liverpool went in front 10 minutes later, Adam Lallana’s challenge seeing the ball break to Salah off Mane, who curled a superb finish past Heaton and into the corner. Soon after the half-hour, Burnley won another corner but Virgil van Dijk dealt with it before Firmino’s persistence brought a promising free kick which Trent Alexander-Arnold ballooned over. Sean Dyche’s visitors started the second half brightly, Liverpool repelling several attacks, but when they broke forward Salah curled over from just outside the box.
Moments later, Mane played in Firmino on the right but his attempted pass to Salah was ahead of his teammate and crept wide of the far post. Burnley winger Dwight McNeil’s smart run started a move that ended when Alisson grabbed Cork’s cross, but Liverpool could have gone further in front after 67 minutes when Georginio Wijnaldum, who was unable to get enough power on a header.
However, a minute later it was 3-1 when Heaton scuffed a goal-kick to Salah, who raced into the area and, although Charlie Taylor denied him with a fine challenge, the ball ran to Firmino to lash home. Jordan Henderson came on for Wijnaldum soon afterwards, and then Fabinho went into the book for a lunge on Ashley Barnes.
But Liverpool were looking comfortable and Klopp, with an eye on next week’s Champions League game at Bayern Munich, made another change as Naby Keita replaced Lallana. A double Burnley switch saw former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch enter the fray for the closing moments, getting a warm reception from the home fans as Chris Wood made way, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson replace Jeff Hendrick. Mane almost added a fourth when his close-range effort bounced off the top of the bar before a third Liverpool change came when Daniel Sturridge replaced Alexander-Arnold.
It looked as though the home side would have to endure an anxious couple of minutes when Gudmundsson pulled one back for Burnley early in added time, but Mane had the final say as he ran on to Sturridge’s pass and rounded Heaton to score.