Preview: Burnley v Liverpool

Burnley will be looking to upset the odds and bounce back from an opening day loss when they host a formidable looking Liverpool outfit at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Burnley v Liverpool
Premier League
19 August 2016
Kick-off: 22h00 HKT
Venue: Turf Moor

Referee: L. Mason
Assistants: S. Beck, S. Ledger
Fourth official: K. Friend

Head-to-head summary:

Burnley 69 21 18 30
Liverpool 69 30 18 21

Previous encounter:

Liverpool 2-0 Burnley 04/03/15 (Premier League)

Liverpool goalscorers: J. Henderson (29′), D. Sturridge (51′)

Players to watch:

All eyes will be on Burnley’s record signing Steven Defour on Saturday. The £8 million signing is set to make his debut for the club against Liverpool and the Belgian will have a big role to play if the Clarets are to beat expectations of relegation this season.

Brazilian midfielder Phillipe Coutinho had a phenomenal match in Liverpool’s opening game of the season, scoring two scintillating goals to hand the Reds a dramatic 4-3 win over Arsenal.

Daniel Sturridge is back in contention for the Merseyside club and fans will be hoping to see him back in action sooner rather than later as his goals will be vital to their ambitions of a top-four push this season.

Team form and manager quotes:

Despite an impressive pre-season, in which they remained unbeaten, Burnley began the Premier League season with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Swansea City.

They will take some comfort from playing the match at home, but any way you slice it they are considered underdogs against a powerful looking Liverpool line-up.

The biggest problem for the club is their spending power relative to the rest of the Premier League. Even with the massive television deal that came into effect this season, manager Sean Dyche revealed it is difficult for them to compete in the transfer market.

“The rest of the Premier League are probably going: ‘Why aren’t they just getting on with those deals?’,” he said before the game.

“For us, it’s a big thing to spend millions of pounds. For others, it’s just like: ‘Park that, let’s move on and get another one in’. That’s the vast difference in the market. Liverpool, for example, their cheapest player will be more expensive than our record signing.”

Liverpool would have been delighted to win their first match of the season away from home against Arsenal, who are perennially among the top four clubs in England, but manager Jurgen Klopp admitted their are still areas they can improve.

“We won 4-3 but it is not perfect. I thought we could have done better. It was good enough for the first game,” he said.

“A few things were really nice, a few others not too nice. There are a lot of things to improve.

“Expectations in football are always high and that is completely okay but it is not what we can think about.”

Team news:

Burnley will be without full-back Jon Flanagan as he is on loan from Liverpool and therefore ineligible to play against his parent club, while Ashley Barnes also misses out with a hamstring injury.

Sturridge and midfielder James Milner are back in contention after recovering from hip and ankle injuries respectively, but are more likely to play a role from the bench rather than start the game. Saido Mane is also a doubt with a shoulder injury, while Mamadou Sakho, Joe Gomez (calf), Lucas Leiva (hamstring), Loris Karius (hand) and Sheyi Ojo all miss out through injury.