Liverpool vs Burnley - Reds looking to cement top four position
Mar 12 2017 by Kelly Saunders
Given the league leaders now enjoy a 14-point advantage over Liverpool, it is not hard to see why the title will be heading to West London rather than Merseyside.
Jurgen Klopp believes that Liverpool have showed "significant" progress since losing to Burnley in August, which he puts down to their strength of character. Liverpool now lie on fourth place, and a victory over Burnley will help them inch closer to Manchester City. "Liverpool simply can not afford any more surprises".
Now it does matter though.
He will be hoping that Burnley can complete a double over Liverpool in the league.
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"I don't want to make it too philosophical - it is obviously the case we are inconsistent", Klopp said. We don't concentrate only on set-pieces, counter-pressing - it is an all-around challenge. "We would make it easier if we also did it against the "smaller" teams".
Liverpool are now in 4th place, although Arsenal (two points behind) do have a game in hand. That's what training is for [now] we have to prove it on the pitch. His form might have dipped in a couple of games, but I think he did really well against Arsenal. "We need to push on and get above that 40-point mark and see where we can go, because we are a good enough to team to do so". However, they beat Tottenham and, most recently, Arsenal during that period.
Klopp is well aware of the criticism of his side in these moments and the struggles they have had, but stressed that was no reason to completely alter the strategy.
Burnley have yet to win away from home in the league this season, having taken all but two of their 31 points at Turf Moor.
After the visit of the Clarets, Liverpool have games against Manchester City and Everton to contend with, but then do not face a team in the top seven in any of their final eight games of the season.
"This game in a few ways is really special", he said.
If Liverpool win this match then they will equal their tally of wins for the entire 2015-16 Premier League season (16).
Burnley do have a habit of snatching goals if you give them even a sniff at goal so I'd swiftly throw the idea of Liverpool keeping a clean sheet right out of the window. Dyche's side will sit very deep, not allowing any space for Sadio Mane to run in to and allow Liverpool to pass the ball to their overlapping full-backs in the knowledge they will be able to clear any crosses.
Summer signing Wijnaldum said that "people expect more from you than other players" but declared they "have to be realistic" and "cannot pick one player especially" because "it is a fault of the whole team if you don't deliver".