Burnley stun Liverpool to end unbeaten home record
Champions Liverpool suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to lowly Burnley on Thursday, ending their 68 match unbeaten home record in the Premier League as their title defence continued to fade.
An 83rd minute penalty from Ashley Barnes, after he was brought down by goalkeeper Alisson Becker, decided the contest after Juergen Klopp’s side failed to score for the fourth straight league match.
Matt Lowton nodded a header into the box and Barnes wriggled free of Fabinho and went down under challenge from Becker, rising to confidently convert from the spot.
Liverpool have not won for five games in the league and trail leaders Manchester United by six points, in fourth place.
“We can’t imagine the title race at the moment,” said Klopp, who last saw his team lose at home in the Premier League in April 2017 when they lost to Crystal Palace.
“When I look back I think how is it possible we lost this game but we did. We have to work hard to do the right things. It is not an easy situation. I have to make clearer what we have to do in the right moments and then we will score goals again.”
It was Burnley’s first victory at Anfield since a 1-0 victory in September 1974 and Sean Dyche’s side were rewarded for a superb defensive display.
Divock Origi had struck the bar for Liverpool in the first half, with only Burnley keeper Nick Pope to beat and Roberto Firmino missed a good chance after the break.
But for all their pressure and 73% possession, Liverpool struggled to create real openings with Ben Mee and James Tarkowski outstanding in the centre of Burnley’s defence.
When Liverpool did manage to find space for a shot, Burnley keeper Nick Pope was up to the test, getting down well to keep out efforts from Trent Alexander-Arnold and substitute Mohamed Salah.
But too often Liverpool drifted in poor crosses which were easily dealt with by Burnley’s defence.
The Clarets, who made a poor start to the season, move up to 16th place on 19 points.
Burnley drew 1-1 at Anfield last season and Dyche was full of praise for his team.
“We were close last year, you get a feel of a performance and I said ‘you are used to playing against these players, working without the ball, there’s always a chance and you have to take it’.
“Barnsey sticks it in there, gets a toe, it’s a penalty and he sticks it away very well,” he said.
Barca edge past minnows Cornella despite missing two penalties
Extra-time strikes from Ousmane Dembele and Martin Braithwaite allowed Barcelona to edge past stubborn third division neighbours Cornella 2-0 and reach the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
Barcelona missed two penalties in normal time, with midfielder Miralem Pjanic being thwarted late in the first half by Cornella keeper Ramon Juan before Dembele hit straight at the feet of the 21-year-old in the 80th minute from yet another spot kick.
Dembele made amends with a vicious long-range strike in the second minute of extra-time which Ramon Juan got a hand to but was powerless to prevent it rocketing into the net.
Danish forward Braithwaite, who had missed a clear chance to win the game late in normal time, then sealed a nervy Barca victory moments after Cornella's Albert Estelles had been sent off.
Barca are the only surviving team of Spain's top three clubs in Friday's last-16 draw after Real Madrid were knocked out by Alcoyano on Wednesday, while La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid were beaten by Cornella last week.
Barca coach Ronald Koeman was relieved to reach the next round but was frustrated with his side's inability to kill the game off long before, meaning they played 120 minutes for the third match in a row after playing extra-time in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao last week.
"The most important thing is that we got through to the next round but we cannot be happy because we missed a lot of clear chances, we missed two penalties and we need to show more responsibility in games like this," he told reporters.
"We played 120 minutes once again, that's a big thing for us. And after creating so many chances and missing two penalties. This cannot be."
Cornella coach Guillermo Fernandez Romo said his side had done themselves proud but was still sad they could not finish the job.
"I don't feel good about the result but everything else I saw tonight makes me proud. We played with dignity and I'm so impressed with my players, because my impression is that it was an even game until the 80th minute," he said.