Burnley 0-1 Liverpool: Sterling saves less than stellar Liverpool (video)
Out of position but still ahead of both Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert in the pecking order, Raheem Sterling is producing goals.
The young Liverpool attacker bagged the winner on the road at Burnley, despite the home side owning much of the meaningful possession as the Reds earned an important three points away from home.
Sterling saw an early goal ruled out for offsides inside five minutes after sneaking behind the back line and beating Tom Heaton one-on-one.
Burnley came dangerously close to one of their own on 15 minutes as Danny Ings pinged the left post with a low shot he probably should have slotted home. Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones pulled up lame following the chance, and he was forced off as the dropped Simon Mignolet returned to the team earlier than he may have expected.
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Through the first half-hour, both sides maintained a solid counter-attacking presence, but neither could do well to hold the ball for an extended period of time. Burnley had a pair of half-chances on a spell of corner kicks 10 minutes before halftime but a shot from Danny Ings scuffed wide and an attempt at an overhead kick came closer than Mignolet will have liked but it dipped just over the bar.
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The home side snatched control of the match as it ticked towards halftime, holding most of the meaningful possession while Liverpool spent their time with the ball mostly trickling between defenders.
Nothing changed in the second half, with neither team able to control but Burnley looking more dangerous. Unfortunately for the struggling club in the drop zone, a moment of bad luck and a moment of quality from Liverpool would leave them with a deficit to overcome.
Lucas won a header near the mid line, and it popped up to Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian lifted the ball over the Burnley defense with an incredible touch before it hit the ground, and it fell perfectly to Sterling in on goal. He beat Heaton this time and slotted home from a tight angle for the lead.
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A substitution by Brendan Rodgers at halftime left Liverpool with just two defenders on the pitch in Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, and they had plenty of work to do with Burnley back in control. Michael Keane headed just wide on a corner just moments after Liverpool snatched the lead.
The win for Brendan Rodgers puts Liverpool back in the top half of the table, into eighth with 25 points. Burnley lose a position down into 19th with Hull City winning to jump over and out of the Premier League.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Mee (Lutkiewicz 90'); Arfield, Jones (Wallace 83'), Marney, Boyd; Barnes (Vokes 80'), Ings.
Liverpool: Jones (Mignolet 16'), Toure (Can 46'), Skrtel, Sakho, Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard, Markovic, Coutinho (Lambert 73'), Lallana, Sterling.
Goals: Sterling 62'