27 Dec 2023

Nunez on target as Liverpool beat Burnley to top table

10:36 am on 27 December 2023
18th February 2023; St James' Park, Newcastle, England: Premier League Football, Newcastle United versus Liverpool;  Darwin Nunez of Liverpool celebrates after making it 1-0 in the 10th minute

Darwin Nunez celebrates scoring a goal. Photo: Vagelis Georgariou

Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League as Darwin Nunez's first league goal for almost two months helped them to a 2-0 victory at struggling Burnley.

Nunez's precision finish after six minutes gave Liverpool a flying start at Turf Moor but Juergen Klopp's side were unable to kill off the hosts as the second goal would not come.

Mohamed Salah was denied by the crossbar and both Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott had goals disallowed as Burnley hung on but Diogo Jota's 90th-minute effort sealed the points.

Nineteenth-placed Burnley had chances of their own in the second half and almost snatched an equaliser when Jacob Bruun Larsen's shot went agonisingly wide of the post.

Liverpool's first win in three league games moved them above Arsenal as they reached the halfway point of the season on 42 points. Arsenal, who have 40, host West Ham United on Thursday.

There was a sense of relief when substitute Jota fired in from a tight angle for his 50th Liverpool goal after a sweeping move as the points should have long been in the bag.

"We put hurdles in front of us and eventually we find a way to get over them but it's unbelievable," Klopp told Amazon Prime. "We played an incredible game but it was only 1-0 and then they realised something was possible.

"They could have scored an equaliser that would have been insane and then with the most difficult situation in the whole game we made it 2-0."

Liverpool, held to home draws by Manchester United and Arsenal in their last two games, totally dominated the opening stages and Nunez produced a silky finish to curl an effort inside goalkeeper James Trafford's post after Gakpo's set-up.

Salah should have made it 2-0 after good work by Gakpo and Nunez but his shot was well saved by Trafford.

Gakpo then had the ball in the net but his effort was disallowed for a foul in the build-up by Nunez.

Burnley played some neat football, as is their style, but lived dangerously as Salah rattled the crossbar with a dipping drive after being played in by Joe Gomez.

The pattern continued after the break and Elliott produced a sharp finish but VAR again came to Burnley's rescue as referee Paul Tierney disallowed the goal for offside against Salah.

That let-off inspired Burnley and they began to threaten an equaliser with Larsen giving Liverpool a big fright before Jota finally put the game to bed.