Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played down striker Sadio Mane’s reaction after being substituted in the 3-0 win at Burnley, and then praised his forward line for helping the club achieve a 13-match winning run in the Premier League.
The incident involving the Senegal international occurred in the 85th minute with the Reds 3-0 up. As Mane walked off he made a gesture to the bench and continued to be animated as he sat down, seemingly frustrated at fellow forward Mohamed Salah’s decision not to pass to him in the opposition area moments earlier.
The German boss laughed off the incident, and said: “But it’s good eh? He was upset, it was obvious.
“Sadio cannot hide his emotions, I like that. But all sorted. We spoke about it and everything is fine.
“We are individuals, we are emotional. It was a situation in a game. What else could have happened? It was not a phone call.”
Mane, Roberto Firmino and a fluke own goal helped the Reds maintain their 100% start to their Premier League campaign.
The Clarets had fought toe-to-toe with last season’s runners-up until the 33rd minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s seemingly intended cross to the far post brushed the back of Chris Wood and sailed over the head of the stranded Nick Pope in goal.
Another piece of misfortune occurred soon after the restart. This time Burnley skipper Ben Mee inadvertently found Reds forward Firmino with a short pass; he then found Mane who fired low past Pope.
There were few chances after the break, but Liverpool converted the clearest of them when Firmino fired in from the edge of the area after he was teed up by Salah.
Klopp said he was surprised the league leaders had extended their winning streak, because none of his front three had a full pre-season – both Mane and Salah played at the African Cup of Nations, while Firmino competed at the Copa America.
“If you ask me four weeks ago I wouldn’t expect it would happen,” said Klopp.
“We had a tricky pre-season. No pre-season for the front three but they still deliver. So far, so good.”
His Reds go into the international break with as many points and in the same position as the corresponding period last season.
Burnley, who have now won just two of their past 17 matches against Liverpool in all competitions, drop down to 11th in the table.
Reds forwards make most of limited chances
Not too many will begrudge a team like Liverpool the rub of the green now and again.
Up until Wood’s own goal neither full-back Alexander-Arnold nor Andy Robertson had much of a chance to attack down the flanks, as they were both kept busy by Burnley’s Aaron Lennon and Dwight McNeil.
However, the danger posed did not deter Alexander-Arnold from pushing forward at any opportunity, and just after the half-hour mark his latest foray led to the lucky opener. As his cross nestled in the back of the net, the England defender reacted with sheepish pleasure.
There were, though, more lavish scenes of celebrations moments later when Mane sent his angled drive past the Burnley keeper.
Both he and fellow forwards Firmino and Salah were limited to scraps in the match, but when the next opportunity arose after the break they took it.
This time Egyptian Salah made one of his familiar marauding runs forward only to see his progress halted at the edge of the area. However, the cavalry arrived in the form of Firmino, who struck home the third for Liverpool.
Burnley out of luck
Two errors in two successive games will grate on a Burnley side that prides itself on making the opposition work for their win.
It was Danny Drinkwater’s mistake that led to Sunderland’s equaliser in the 3-1 Carabao Cup midweek defeat, and against the Reds, skipper Mee suffered a rare lapse at the wrong place and against the wrong team.
That was an unfortunate four minutes for the Clarets, who up until the fluke opener looked good as they sparred against the European champions.
They came close to taking an early lead when Wood flashed a shot that Spanish keeper Adrian pushed away. And minutes later, Alexander-Arnold prevented Barnes from an almost-certain fifth of the season when he cut out Aaron Lennon’s ball from the right.
The two first-half goals seemed to knock some of the wind out of Burnley, who failed to put up much of a fight after the break. Had James Tarkowski left a cross for Mee from a second-half corner, the captain might have atoned for his earlier error. And late in the game substitute Jay Rodriguez was denied by keeper Adrian – a sharper Rodriguez might have scored.
Having been competitive in almost three-and-a-half league games, Burnley boss Sean Dyche is unlikely to be too concerned about a second defeat in a matter of days.
Man of the match – Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Mane the lucky charm – the stats
- Liverpool have won 13 league games in a row for the first time in their history, while they are only the second English top-flight side to win 13 in a row while scoring more than once each time (after Tottenham in 1960).
- Liverpool have gone 21 Premier League games without losing (W17 D4 L0); losing just once in their last 43 games in the competition (W35 D7 L1), a 1-2 defeat to Man City in January.
- Burnley have picked up just one victory in their last 25 Premier League games against ‘Big Six’ teams (D6 L18), beating Spurs at Turf Moor in February 2019 (2-1).
- Liverpool have won three consecutive away games at Burnley for the first time since August 1970 (all competitions) under former boss Bill Shankly.
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has won five Premier League games versus Dyche; against no manager has he registered more victories in the competition.
- Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Burnley have scored eight own goals in the Premier League; only Bournemouth (nine) have scored more.
- Liverpool have not lost any of the last 33 Premier League games in which Mane has found the net (W29 D4 L0).
- Since the start of last season, no Liverpool player has scored more goals in all competitions Mane (30 – level with Salah).
- Firmino became the first Brazilian to score 50 Premier League goals; he is the ninth player to reach the milestone for Liverpool overall – no other club has had more (level with Manchester United).
Liverpool are at home to Newcastle on Saturday, 14 September (12:30 BST) and Burnley are at Brighton the same day (15:00 BST).