Liverpool vs Burnley: Sadio Mane can continue dream start for Reds

The Senegalese frontman looks sharp again and can continue his strong record against the Clarets by firing in the opening goal on Saturday.

When: Saturday, August 21, 12.30pm BST

Where: Anfield

How to watch: BT Sport

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Best bets

Liverpool winning margin of exactly 2 goals at 13/5

Sadio Mane to be first Liverpool goalscorer at 14/5

Under 2.5 cards at 10/11

After enduring a series of setbacks and a huge drop in form, Liverpool finished last season like a train to snatch third place and a Champions League spot.

And they're up and running in the new campaign after cruising to a 3-0 win at Norwich on opening weekend.

Patch the two seasons together and it's now six straight Premier League wins. Stretch it back a little further and it's 29 points out of 31. That's a return to the title-winning form of 2019/20.

In fact, but for conceding last equalisers to Leeds and Newcastle in that run, they'd have the full 33 from 33.

Burnley, by contrast, lost seven of their last nine games at the end of last season and kicked off with a 2-1 home loss to Brighton despite taking a second-minute lead.

However, they do at least have positive recent memories of trips to Anfield...

Last three matches

Burnley 0-3 Liverpool (Premier League - May 19, 2021)

The Reds were on a late-season charge to grab a Champions League spot when they turned up at Turf Moor last season and got the job done via a 3-0 win.

They wasted plenty of early chances before Roberto Firmino slotted home two minutes before half-time to put the Reds in front.

Stand-in centre-back Nat Phillips cemented his cult hero status by nodding home a second in the 52nd minute and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put some extra gloss on the scoreline with a fine third after showing quick feet in the box.

This was Liverpool's fourth straight win at Turf Moor after Jurgen Klopp lost his first match there 2-0.

Liverpool 0-1 Burnley (Premier League, - January 21, 2021)

An historic win for Burnley. Not only did they record their first victory at Anfield since 1974 but they ended Liverpool's astonishing 68-game unbeaten home run which had lasted nearly four years.

Remarkably, the loss sparked a run of six straight home defeats as the Reds' Anfield form completely fell apart.

The man to inflict the killer blow was Ashley Barnes, who was tripped in the box by Alisson before slotting home the resulting penalty seven minutes from time.

Liverpool 1-1 Burnley (Premier League - July 11, 2020)

Liverpool looked set to complete a complete sweep of 19 home wins in their remarkable title-winning season in 2019/20.

They'd won their first 17 and were on track to make it 18 when Andy Robertson headed home Fabinho's cross in the 34th minute.

But Nick Pope kept Burnley in the game and Jay Rodriguez swooped in the 69th minute to fire home the equaliser and the hosts - in front of an empty Anfield - couldn't find a winner.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Liverpool wins: 6

Draws: 2

Burnley wins: 2

Liverpool goals: 19

Burnley goals: 10

Can Burnley upset the Reds again?

With a win and a draw on their last two trips to Anfield, there are grounds to give Burnley 'bogey team' status.

They also grabbed a 1-1 draw in 2017 so they've lost just one of their last four at Liverpool.

That should put enough doubts in the minds of those thinking of backing Liverpool at 2/11 while it also offers hope to those looking to take the draw at 11/2 or even Burnley at 12/1.

However, a lot of recent form has to be swept under the table to oppose Liverpool.

And, secondly, those two recent draws were both played in an empty stadium. Anfield will be a much different proposition with the home fans back and they can help sweep their team to victory.

There are better ways to back Liverpool, though, than taking a prohibitive price on the basic win.

Two-goal margin makes sense

This is unlikely to be a cakewalk for the Reds so I'll go for the winning margin of 2 goals at 13/5. That gives us 2-0, 3-1 and even 4-2.

Liverpool won their last two home fixtures of 2020/21 by 2-0 scorelines (Southampton and Crystal Palace) while two recent head-to-heads against Burnley show the Reds winning 3-1 and 4-2 (Anfield 2019).

Burnley have proven obdurate opponents and Klopp would be delighted to get a couple of goals ahead and see out the match.

With Virgil van Dijk back in action after missing the majority of last season, the chances of that are much higher.

Goalscorer bets

Three of Liverpool's frontline were on target against Norwich which will have heartened Klopp.

The man to miss out was Sadio Mane but the Senegalese frontman looked sharp against Norwich and is clearly feeling the benefits of a break after being run into the ground over the last few seasons.

He found the net in a couple of pre-season friendlies and has netted four goals in his last six games against Burnley.

That run includes a brace in a 4-2 home win in 2019.

He scored Liverpool's first goal in that match while he also fired in the opener in the Reds' final two home games of last season.

Mane is 13/5 to score Liverpool's first goal and that's the bet.

Get short of cards

It's easy to imagine that Burnley nullified Liverpool in past Anfield meetings by getting at them and pushing the limits: and subsequently, that could have resulted in taking a few for the team and picking up yellow cards.

However, Burnley have received a combined three yellow cards in their last three trips to Anfield and the latest meeting between the pair at Turf Moor didn't produce a single booking.

In other words, Sean Dyche knows how to play tough but fair.

With referees seemingly applying a lighter touch this season, I'll back Under 2.5 cards at 10/11.

READ MORE: High Five: All of Mo Salah's opening day goals for Liverpool

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