Liverpool maintained the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City by coming from behind to beat Burnley 4-2 in tricky conditions at Anfield.
The Clarets took a shock sixth-minute lead when Ashley Westwood scored direct from a corner, although it appeared Reds’ goalkeeper Alisson had been impeded by James Tarkowski.
But the hosts were only behind for 13 minutes before Roberto Firmino tapped in after Tom Heaton had fumbled Mohamed Salah’s cross.
In a first half played in strong wind and hailstorms, Liverpool took the lead when Sadio Mane curled a shot past Heaton.
Firmino scored his second following Heaton’s poor clearance and Burnley pulled one back late on through Johann Berg Gudmundsson from six yards out.
But there was no fightback as Mane then went around the Clarets’ keeper in injury time for his second and Liverpool’s fourth to seal the win, which leaves Jurgen Klopp’s side one point behind City with eight league games of the season remaining.
Liverpool fight hard for the three points
Liverpool, aiming to become English champions for the first time since 1990, had faced questions over their character after a run of four draws in six league matches had seen them lose their lead at the top of the table.
Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick for Manchester City on Saturday gave Pep Guardiola’s side a 3-1 win over Watford and left the defending champions with a four-point advantage.
Guardiola said it would be “almost impossible” to win every remaining league match and all Liverpool can do is win their own games and hope for a slip-up from City.
The hosts made the worst possible start, trailing early on, but Klopp’s team responded in fine fashion and showed their character to dig deep and overcome a hard-working and determined Burnley outfit.
Firmino’s shot was deflected over after 13 minutes, but six minutes later he had his 10th league goal of the season, scoring from close range after a mistake from Heaton following fine play from Salah, who had played a one-two with Georginio Wijnaldum.
The inclusion of Adam Lallana, making only his fifth start of the season, was met with doubt by many on social media – but he played a huge part in Liverpool’s second, sliding in to block a clearance, with Ben Mee’s subsequent challenge falling to Mane to curl past Heaton.
A second error from Heaton, who gifted the ball to Salah, led to the Reds’ third, with Firmino finishing after Charlie Taylor’s challenge on the Egyptian fell straight to the Brazilian.
An injury-time goal from Burnley substitute Gudmundsson threatened a dramatic finish, but Mane – who had earlier hit the crossbar – finished the job with a goal in the 93rd minute. BBC