Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez (L) celebrates scoring against Burnley
Liverpool (AFP) - Liverpool survived a scare from struggling Burnley to regain first place in the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Anfield on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had been knocked out of pole position by Manchester City’s 2-0 victory against Everton earlier in the afternoon.
It looked as though Liverpool might end the weekend off the summit after Burnley’s Dara O’Shea cancelled out Diogo Jota’s opener.
But Liverpool recovered their composure in the second half as goals from Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez lifted them two points clear of second-placed City.
It was a hard-fought success rather than an eye-catching performance, with Liverpool’s flu and injury-hit side dragging up just enough quality to dispatch second-bottom Burnley.
In front of Liverpool’s record league crowd of 59,896, following the full opening of the Anfield Road stand, the Reds responded to last weekend’s damaging defeat at title rivals Arsenal.
Liverpool were without goalkeeper Alisson Becker and defender Joe Gomez, while their fitness issues mounted when Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced off early in the second half.
Fortunately for Klopp, it was Alexander-Arnold’s replacement Harvey Elliott who set up the goals for Diaz and Nunez.
For 25 minutes it looked a struggle for Liverpool, with Caoimhin Kelleher required to be out quickly to block Zeki Amdouni’s shot.
The breakthrough came in the 31st minute when Clarets goalkeeper James Trafford misjudged the flight of a corner and Jota headed in his fifth goal in six games.
O’Shea produced an even better header from 12 yards from Josh Brownhill’s corner, outjumping Wataru Endo to power the ball past Kelleher in first-half stoppage time.
Seven minutes after the interval, Elliott made his first significant contribution when his low cross took a deflection off Maxime Esteve and allowed a stooping Diaz to nod in at the near post.
Kelleher made a key save in the 64th minute in a one-on-one against David Datro Fofana, with Wilson Odobert blazing over the rebound with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Visiting sides rarely get the chance to make amends for such profligacy in the Klopp era and Nunez delivered the knockout blow in the 79th minute when he flicked a header inside the far post from Elliott’s cross.