Emre Can’s fourth goal of the season ended Burnley’s stubborn resistance as Liverpool claimed an unconvincing win to strengthen their bid for a top-four finish.
The Reds were far from their best and fell behind when Ashley Barnes turned home Matthew Lowton’s brilliant defence-splitting pass.
Liverpool equalised on the stroke of half-time with their first shot on target when Georginio Wijnaldum poked in at the second attempt.
Can then secured a second-successive victory for Liverpool with a long-range effort into the bottom corner.
Burnley threatened to snatch an equaliser late on but Lowton hooked over from close range.
It was a game of few memorable moments but the win means Jurgen Klopp’s side, who remain fourth, are now five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal.
Burnley, who are yet to win a game away from home in any competition this season, are 12th.
Liverpool get an ‘ugly’ win
Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 earlier this month to continue their impressive form against their top-six rivals – they are yet to lose to any of them this season.
But as impressive as the Reds have been against those teams around them, they have struggled against sides lower down the table, with all five of their defeats prior to Sunday’s game against sides in the bottom half.
Burnley beat Liverpool at Turf Moor back in August and initially had the measure of their opponents in this encounter, although they were aided by a lethargic display by the hosts.
Liverpool did not create a single chance in the opening 30 minutes but their first shot on target resulted in the equaliser and their second produced the winner.
It was ultimately a clinical display by Liverpool but too many players had off days. They needed Philippe Coutinho to be at his creative best to unlock a disciplined Burnley but the midfielder rarely made a telling pass while in attack Divock Origi failed to manage a single shot on goal.
The win may not have been pretty but that is something Liverpool have struggled to do this season and Klopp believes a corner may have been turned.
“It’s the first ugly game we’ve won,” he said.
“In the end I liked it – this is the kind of game we haven’t won and we did.”
Will Burnley ever win away?
For 44 minutes, it was the perfect away performance for Burnley.
They got an early goal and then successfully nullified Liverpool to the point that a frustrated home crowd started to turn against their side.
But a one-goal lead meant they were always susceptible to getting caught out and the Clarets need to learn to kill off a game – only once have they scored more than one goal in an away game this season.
Burnley’s home form is likely to ensure they are in the Premier League next season – they are seven points above the relegation zone with 10 games remaining.
However, a return of just two points from a possible 42 on the road this season will be of major concern for manager Sean Dyche.
What they said
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “Burnley were always in the game, it was intense and we had to fight. We had some moments, it was not only luck that we scored before half-time and it was a wonderful goal from Emre Can.
“It is clear we have to do a few things better. We were not at our absolute best but we fought. I liked it, it is this kind of game we haven’t won until now. It feels kind of strange a little bit. Not the most memorable game but a very nice three points.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “It’s a tough one to take, because everyone gave a really good account of ourselves and went up with a sublime goal, but it’s a tough place to come.
“Their first was a soft one to concede before half-time, and the second one we’re disappointed with but we gave a really good account of ourselves. We just needed a scratch of luck along the way.”
Man of the match – Ashley Barnes
Liverpool love long-range shots – the stats
- Liverpool have now won 16 Premier League games this season; equalling their tally of wins for the entire 2015-16 season.
- Liverpool have won 14 points from losing positions in the league this term; a joint-high with Tottenham.
- Ashley Barnes (10) is now just one goal short of tying with Danny Ings (11) for the most Premier League goals for Burnley.
- Liverpool conceded inside the first 10 minutes of a league game at Anfield for the first time since August 2015 (v West Ham, Manuel Lanzini).
- All 16 of Georginio Wijnaldum’s Premier League goals have been scored in home matches (five for Liverpool, 11 for Newcastle).
- Since Jurgen Klopp’s first game in charge, the Reds have scored more Premier League goals from outside the box than any other team (21).
It’s a big game for Liverpool in the battle for a top-four finish as they travel to Manchester City on Sunday, 19 March (16:30 GMT). Burnley head to struggling Sunderland the day before (15:00 GMT).