Burnley boss Sean Dyche not fooled by absence of key Liverpool stars

Sean Dyche isn't lulling himself into a sense of false sense of security at the prospect of playing Liverpool without key centre backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe GomezVirgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez

Jurgen Klopp's champions have had to contend without the title-winning duo, who have long-term knee injuries, and the Reds have conceded 21 goals in 18 games this term, having shipped 33 from 38 last season.

They are expected to welcome back Joel Matip at centre back tonight, having used midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho there in the goal-less draw against leaders Manchester United on Sunday.

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Liverpool are also missing Naby Keita and Diogo Jota, but Dyche - a childhood Reds fan - doesn't expect anything other than a stern examination for his side, who have drawn two of their last three visits to Anfield: "I think they had a really good performance the other night (against Manchester United), we don't know obviously if the other players will be fit.

"A top pro like Jordan Henderson slotted in and did his job.

"The wrong word is to start talking about anything other than they're still a fine side, because you can get into a situation where you're kidding yourself with 'this player's missing, that player's missing' and that somehow makes them less than what they are.

"Well it doesn't really, because they're still top players and they can still find a way of doing the job."

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Manchester United fielded a more physical side to combat Burnley last week, but while the preconception is Burnley are a physical side, he feels they can do more in that respect: "It's a strange one, people mention it often - I don't think we are overly physical, I wish we were more physical.

"I think our physical prowess as regards stats and facts as in mileage as in sprint distance, I think that's good, and you certainly have to deliver that against these sides because one of the biggest changes, when Jurgen (Klopp) came in, when Pep (Guardiola) came in - not just those two but using them as an example - was the shift in the dynamic of the teams.

"They were always good sides, they could always use the ball and they could always technically hurt you and defend properly and attack properly, but now they've brought in the energy to these performances from these sides so you've certainly got to think on that side of things.

"You've got to put in the miles, you've got to put in the sprint distance, you've got to put in all the physical markers that you need to compete in the Premier League, regardless of who you're playing.

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"But then of course you've got to work on top of that to find the chances and the opportunities while defending very well as a side, so that's often how the games pan out against these sort of sides.

"We're aware of that. It sounds easy when you talk about it, not so easy when that whistle blows. We'll be ready and we'll take it on and see what happens."