Ashley Barnes penalty finally ends Reds’ incredible 68-GAME unbeaten run at Anfield in Prem

IT is such a shame the pubs are not open. Particularly for Ashley Barnes.

Because he would have been able to walk into any boozer in Manchester today – or even Leicester – and got absolutely hammered without shelling out a penny.

Ashley Barnes' penalty ended Liverpool's incredible unbeaten run at Anfield

11

Ashley Barnes’ penalty ended Liverpool’s incredible unbeaten run at AnfieldCredit: Reuters
Barnes delivered the sucker punch in the 83rd minute

11

Barnes delivered the sucker punch in the 83rd minuteCredit: Reuters
The champions were left stunned as they failed to score for the fourth straight game

11

The champions were left stunned as they failed to score for the fourth straight gameCredit: EPA

Barnes scored the goal to not only send Liverpool to their first defeat in 68 games at Anfield but to widen the cracks which are now clear to see.

And to blow the title race open. What a massive result at both ends. This season just keeps on giving.

Just when we thought it would be the defensive issues that led to their downfall, Liverpool have now gone 438 minutes without a goal. 

On a sorry night for Jurgen Klopp, it was obvious that the pressure has got to him. He ended up in a blazing half-time row with Sean Dyche. Had the dispute turned into a proper scrap, the smart money would have been on a win for Kettering’s finest.

But no-one would have expected Dyche to  finish the match with a famous victory.

Yet the fact Liverpool’s manager turned into a gibbering, finger-jabbing nutter as he chased Dyche down the tunnel on the strike of half-time was the clearest proof yet that the German boss is really feeling the heat.

The champions are currently toothless. They have lost their mojo. It is not a full-blown crisis but there is now room for panic at Anfield.

It is not a surprise that they have struggled defensively due to the rotten luck they have suffered with injuries. The biggest surprise is that going forward, they have run out of ideas. Something is not clicking.

FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

The quality is not there and all of a sudden, Liverpool look a bit ordinary. And how Manchester United fans in particular, who are savouring an unlikely title challenge, are loving this.

Also, fair play to Burnley. Led by Ben Mee at the back and helped by the brilliant Nick Pope in goal.

Klopp’s frustration boiled at the end of the first half as he shouted and screamed at Dyche moments after some tangling on the pitch between Fabinho and Ashley Barnes.

Ashley Barnes went down after a collision with Fabinho, Ashley Westwood tried to confront the the Brazilian and had to be dragged away by Andy Robertson

Barnes, who appeared to kick out after the minor foul, was already on a booking while it was only Fabinho who got the caution.

Barnes was running full tilt when he entered the Liverpool penalty area

11

Barnes was running full tilt when he entered the Liverpool penalty areaCredit: PA:Press Association
Alisson came rushing out and crashed into the striker

11

Alisson came rushing out and crashed into the strikerCredit: Reuters
The Brazilian was furious at giving away the penalty

11

The Brazilian was furious at giving away the penaltyCredit: Rex Features

Klopp made three changes from the 0-0 draw with Manchester United but it did not make much of a difference. 

The plan was to keep Jordan Henderson alongside Fabinho at the back but a minor issue to the skipper allowed the return of the fit-again Joel Matip.

Considering the mini goal drought, it was not a major surprise to see the front three broken up with Bobby Firmino and Mo Salah, the Premier League’s top scorer, starting on the bench – although they were introduced before the hour.

Alisson saved Liverpool with a couple of important saves against United on Sunday and he also rushed off his line to throw himself to block a shot from Barnes.

Alisson was maybe to blame for failing to gather the ball in the first place from Chris Wood but it was still some admirably brave goalkeeping from the Brazilian who can lay claim to being the best No 1 in the world.

The likes of Roberto Firmino continued to fire blanks up front

11

The likes of Roberto Firmino continued to fire blanks up frontCredit: Reuters
Jurgen Klopp knows Liverpool face a real challenge to retain their title

11

Jurgen Klopp knows Liverpool face a real challenge to retain their titleCredit: Reuters

Xherdan Shaqiri sent a shot flashing wide and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who did not look at his sharpest and still needs more games, hammered an effort straight at Nick Pope.

The England keeper also kept out a couple of drives from Divock Origi but Liverpool struggled to create anything out of the ordinary and all those chances came from outside the box.

The best Liverpool chance of the game came before the break when the otherwise impressive Mee made a complete mess of a pass back to his keeper. Divock Origi was clean through with plenty of time and from the edge of the area, hammered the ball against the woodwork. 

This contest exploded into life on half-time with Dyche having already had words with the fourth official. Liverpool continued their pressure in the second half and Pope delivered a good save at the near post from Alexander-Arnold .

Just before the hour, Klopp brought on Salah and Firmino. And Pope delivered his best save to deny Salah as the frustrations grew.

Burnley had the final say on a wet and windy night on Merseyside

11

Burnley had the final say on a wet and windy night on MerseysideCredit: Ian Hodgson – The Daily Mail
Barnes will have been delighted at being the man to end Liverpool's dominance at Anfield

11

Barnes will have been delighted at being the man to end Liverpool’s dominance at AnfieldCredit: PA:Press Association

Burley had run out of ideas and incredibly and then with seven minutes left took the lead. 

Barnes wriggled clear of Fabinho and was brought down by Alisson. The Burnley man duly stuck away the penalty.

Normally, the chance to get away from the Premier League would be a welcome distraction. But the problem is they go to Old Trafford in the fourth round on Sunday.

And after that, Klopp’s lot have to play Tottenham. But right now for Liverpool, things cannot get any worse.

The title really is slipping away. If they keep playing like this, the fight will be just to reach the top four.

Jurgen Klopp clashes with Burnley’s Sean Dyche in tunnel following off-the-ball Fabinho clash

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *