Belfast Telegraph

You cannot do that: Klopp blasts Burnley's 'bowling' tackles as Liverpool wait on Gomez scan

Burnley 1-3 Liverpool

Goal delight: Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates completing the scoring
Goal delight: Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates completing the scoring

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt referee Stuart Attwell could have offered more protection to his players in the 3-1 win at Burnley.

Reds defender Joe Gomez was carried off on a stretcher in the first half and will have a scan on an ankle injury today, with Klopp admitting the problem is "probably not only a little bit".

Klopp was expecting the Clarets, who have not won since September and are stuck in the bottom three, to be physical but believed his players should have been afforded more care.

"I'm pretty sure I don't make a lot of friends, but that's not my job," said the Reds boss. "I said after the first challenge, I don't know who did it, a sliding tackle from six/seven yards, getting the ball, everybody likes it, I said to the ref, 'It's no foul but please tell them you cannot do that'.

"Nobody can judge that. You get the ball, nice, but it's like bowling because you get the player as well. It happened four or five times, everybody likes it, but Joe is injured, and probably not only a little bit.

"We don't know (how bad) at the moment, we sent him home so we have to see.

"They wanted to be aggressive. Aggression is a part of football. You try something and you need someone to say, 'Be careful'.

"There were a lot of situations, challenges. There was nothing to say, 'Wow, too much', they were normal challenges. But with six or seven yards and then (slide) these times are over. They are over.

"We all want to win, and there are different ways of doing it. Somebody has to tell you to stop doing it, make two more steps and make a normal challenge.

"The boy with the ball is a bit unlucky because what can happen is what happened to Joe Gomez. I think the referee has to make sure that things like this don't happen constantly. It's not how it should be. Let's play football."

The Clarets gave their visitors a tough test and, after goalkeeper Joe Hart had kept them in the game with two top-class saves from Daniel Sturridge and Naby Keita, Jack Cork put them ahead just after the break.

However, James Milner soon equalised, and after Klopp sent on Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, the latter converted from close range within four minutes of his arrival and Xherdan Shaqiri completed victory in added time.

It maintained their unbeaten start to the season and ensured the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City returned to two points.

Klopp's big call was in making sweeping changes from Sunday's Merseyside derby win, giving Anfield match-winner Divock Origi his first Premier League start since May 14, 2017.

It took until two minutes into the second half for Sturridge to force Hart into his first real save with a low, left-footed effort, with the former England goalkeeper doing even better to tip Keita's strike onto a post.

But just when it seemed they were getting into their stride, Liverpool were hit with the sucker punch.

Alisson Becker only half-saved Woods' deflection from James Tarkowski's header at a corner and in the six-yard-area scramble that followed, Cork reacted quickest.

Their lead lasted barely eight minutes as Milner finally beat Hart with a low effort just inside his left-hand post after Origi had laid off Keita's pass.

The midfielder's 'reward' was to be dropped in as an auxiliary left-back as Klopp sent on Salah and Firmino for Moreno and Origi.

His change paid off immediately as Firmino scored with his first touch four minutes later, tapping home after Virgil van Dijk, at full stretch, squared Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick.

Keita was denied three times inside 30 seconds, twice by Hart and once by Bardsley as Liverpool tried to kill off the game.

Then Alisson brilliantly clawed Ben Mee's header away from the top corner in added time and Liverpool counter-attacked for Shaqiri to score before, at the final whistle, Klopp and Burnley boss Sean Dyche exchanged words.

Dyche was happy with what he saw from his side, which he thinks was an improvement on recent weeks. And he had no qualms about the approach they took.

"I thought there were some excellent challenges. I thought some of the timing of the challenges were superb. That's part of that front-foot mentality," he said.

"You've got to win the ball, you've got to challenge against these boys. You've got to put a marker on the game.

"I thought we were effective. We mixed it. Not effective enough, don't get me wrong. But we've got to get back to being 'us'."

BURNLEY: Hart, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, Brady (Lennon, 71 mins), Barnes (Vydra, 84 mins), Wood (Vokes, 71 mins). Unused subs: Heaton, Lowton, Hendrick, Long.

Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez (Alexander-Arnold, 23 mins), Matip, van Dijk, Moreno (Salah, 66 mins), Milner, Henderson, Keita, Shaqiri, Sturridge, Origi (Firmino, 66 mins). Unused subs: Fabinho, Lallana, Mignolet, Camacho.

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

Man of the match: Virgil van Dijk

Match rating: 7/10

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