A fluke own goal and strikes by Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino helped Liverpool see off Burnley at Turf Moor as they maintained 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 Mohamed Salah.
Burnley, who have now won just two of their past 17 matches against Liverpool in all competitions, drop down to 11th in the table.
The Reds, on the other hand, go into the international break with as many points and in the same position as the corresponding period last season.
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.