Photos: Liverpool 2, Burnley 0
While Sean Dyche’s side were hit by Christian Benteke’s penalty deep in to stoppage time as Aston Villa beat Midland rivals West Brom, the remainder of the pack stayed relatively unchanged.
Within the first minute the Reds, attacking the Kop, signalled their intent with a wonderfully crisp and incisive passage, befitting of a side pushing for the top four in the Premier League.
Sturridge, with his back to the play and options at a premium, started the move with an improvised flick and culminated it with a strike that was well saved by Heaton at the foot of his left hand post. Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana provided the supporting roles in the build up.
Liverpool continued to force the initiative, and it was Henderson who was showing why he’s the prime candidate to take the club forward once Steven Gerrard moves on.
After heading over from Philippe Coutinho’s corner, the skipper forced another exquisite stop from Heaton when targeting the near corner from Sterling’s assist.
Sturridge went within a whisker of lifting the ball over Heaton from Michael Keane’s timid back pass once Emre Can had drilled a pass in the direction of Henderson, but moments later the home side’s pressure was rewarded.
Coutinho, who danced inside the penalty area, was denied by an unconventional block off the rear of Jason Shackell, but Henderson set himself up to send a rasping right-footed effort in to the corner from the edge of the box.
Coutinho has netted a couple of goal of the season contenders in recent weeks, beating Southampton’s Fraser Forster and Manchester City’s Joe Hart with stunning strikes, and the Brazilian magician almost replicated such excellence at Anfield.
The 22-year-old, former Inter midfielder, swung his right leg around the ball, shaping his shot towards the far corner, but the attempt whistled past the upright.
Coutinho then turned provider, threading a pass in to the gateway between Shackell and Keane for Sturridge, but as the striker adjusted his body to slot in to the corner Heaton saved with his feet.
Joe Allen cleared the bar as the half drew to a close while Simon Mignolet sprung through the air to claim Ashley Barnes’s header from Kieran Trippier’s guided set-piece.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were equally as commanding after the break and doubled their advantage shortly after Heaton had sprawled to his left to claim Coutinho’s driven, angled drive.
Sturridge portrayed the patience and movement to outwit Trippier and Keane and timed his run to perfection to pierce the pair and nod Henderson’s cross in to the aperture between upright and the tip of Heaton’s glove.
Alberto Moreno sliced wide of the post when losing his footing from Sterling’s centre, while the remainder of the fixture was seen out with professionalism by the hosts who extended their unbeaten run to 12 games.
Meanwhile, the Clarets remain 19th after their run stretched to one win in 14 outings in all competitions.