Football Features

“A breathtaking moment of magic that lifted Anfield” – Player ratings as Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 to go top of the Premier League

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:59, 21 August 2021

In a comfortable afternoon of Premier League football, Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 at Anfield.

The Reds made it two wins from two this season and scored their first win against Sean Dyche’s men since 2019.

Here’s how the players rated at Anfield:


Alisson – 8 – Very lucky at the end of the first-half when he came for a cross and almost let Burnley score. Beyond that he was really solid, especially at the end when Burnley began peppering the Liverpool goal with shots.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – Some shaky passes early but found his feet. Great block on line (from offside McNeil shot) and although he struggled defensively was a constant threat on the ball and his assist for Mané’s goal was simply outrageous; a delicious lifted through-ball. A breathtaking moment of magic that lifted Anfield. Missed Euro 2020 with an injury but appears to have used the time off to re-find the groove he was missing last season. If Trent keeps playing like this, he’s gonna be a serious headache for Liverpool’s opponents.

Joel Matip – 7 – Solid at the back, especially in the air.

Virgil van Dijk – 8 – An absolute colossus. Having him back transforms the Reds both in terms of defence and attack. Repelled Burnley time and again, and it was his glorious pass that began the move for the second goal.

Kostas Tsimikas – 8 – Lucky to avoid censure for a blatant shoulder-barge on Gudmundsson but later delivered a delightful, Robertson-esque cross for Jota to open the scoring. Mostly solid defensively except for one moment when Matt Lowton turned into Dani Alves.

Jordan Henderson – 7 – A reassuring presence in midfield for the Reds. Sheer leadership.

Naby Keita – 7 – Was getting stuck in and advancing the ball nicely. He’s not the game-changer he promised to be, but Keita is finally finding some form in a Liverpool shirt.

Harvey Eliot – 7 – Brave. Invited contact. Delicious pass for Salah that would have been an assist but for VAR’s intervention. Played a part in the second goal and was so impressive and confident.

Mohamed Salah – 7 – Unplayable at times, Burnley couldn’t get near him. Was unfortunate that nothing he attempted came off.

Sadio Mané – 7 – Rattled home Liverpool’s second with a superb finish but he missed two glorious chances later in the game. You never want to be too critical if someone scores but he should have had a hat-trick!

Diogo Jota – 8 – Delightful flicked header to give Liverpool the lead. Was bright after that as his movement really offers Liverpool an alternative kind of threat to Roberto Firmino’s more flick-happy approach. And of course, he leads the press with relentless application (put in a joint-game-high 4 tackles).


Thiago (for Keita 81′) – 5 – Came on late. Had one nice run and pass.

Roberto Firmino (for Jota 81′) – n/a – Came on late.

Joe Gomez (for Tsimikas 90’+2) – n/a – Came on late.

Southampton vs Man Utd: William Hill betting offer (18+ only)


Nick Pope – 7 – Great save from Mané in the first-half. Played really well, but couldn’t keep Liverpool out forever.

Matt Lowton – 5 – Was fine, not too good not too bad (albeit his failure to press Tsimikas for the opening goal was unfortunate). Really unlucky his best moment of the game, a devilish bit of dribbling play and a devastating cross for an Ashley Westwood goal, was ruled out for offside.

James Tarkowski – 7 – Should have scored a great headed chance when Alisson came for a cross and didn’t make it. Was rock solid at the back with a team-high 6 clearances.

Ben Mee – 6 – Defended well mostly but blotted his copybook when he lost Jota in the air for the first goal.

Chris Taylor – 7 – Really impressive battling against Salah on the right. Lost some battles, but definitely won some as well.

Johann Gudmundsson – 5 – Added nothing.

Josh Brownhill – 7 – Was full of ambition in his passing but lacked the quality to pull it off. However put in a solid shift defensively.

Jack Cork – 5 – Underwhelming.

Dwight McNeil – 8 – Endlessly saucy with the ball at his feet, completing a game-high 4/5 take-ons and was terrorising the Liverpool defence every time he had the ball, delivering dynamic crosses as well. Added an amazing clearance off the line to prevent a Salah goal second-half to show he’s no slouch at the back. Deserves a bigger stage than Burnley.

Ashley Barnes – 7 – Worked really hard to link the play. Created a team-high 3 chances.

Chris Wood – 5 – Tried to dominate the Liverpool defenders. Couldn’t.


Jay Rodriguez (for Wood 75′) – 6 – Was full of some lovely dynamic movement and had some good chances to score.

Erik Pieters (for Gudmundsson 79′) – n/a – Came on late.