BURNLEY, England (AP) — Liverpool isn’t letting up in its pursuit of Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
A 1-0 win over last-place Burnley in challenging conditions at Turf Moor returned second-place Liverpool to within nine points of City on Sunday.
The Reds also have a game in hand, at home to struggling Leeds on Feb. 23, and still have to play City away in April.
Fabinho was the match-winner for Liverpool, the Brazil holding midfielder keeping up his unlikely scoring run of late by bundling the ball into the net from close range in the 40th minute after his initial shot had been saved following Sadio Mane’s flick-on at a corner.
Fabinho has now scored five goals in his last seven appearances for Liverpool in all competitions, including two in one game in the FA Cup.
“He would have probably scored more goals for Liverpool if I would have put him in the box around offensive set-pieces,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said.
“Only recently we put him in and he scores, a great goal. The space where the ball came to Sadio (Mane) was the plan but not at that height, so Sadio made absolutely the most of it — great header, great deflection, timing is perfect and Fab is there to score a counter-pressing goal in the six-yard box.”
In wet and blustery weather, a typically physical Burnley team posed a tough test — hardly ideal for Liverpool ahead of its return to Champions League action at Inter Milan on Wednesday in the last 16.
Jordan Henderson went off before the hour mark having managed to play on despite hurting his knee in the first half and Sadio Mane got his first start since winning the African Cup of Nations with Senegal, starting ahead of Diogo Jota because of the Portugal winger’s dead leg.
Burnley mostly troubled Liverpool in the first half, with January signing Wout Weghorst proving particularly hard to pin down. The Dutchman’s finishing was off, though, failing with a chip over Alisson after being played clean through and then poking a shot wide from further out.
Mane struck a shot straight at goalkeeper Nick Pope from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free kick before playing a key part in the only goal.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the way we played (in) the circumstances, it was so tricky,” Klopp said. “Only when you stood on the pitch could you feel the extent of the wind, it was ridiculous.
“The boys stuck with it and over the years have learned to deal with the circumstances. We asked ourselves to use it instead of suffering from it. A really difficult game.”
Burnley was dealt a blow in the second half when Weghorst went down with a knee injury and eventually had to go off.
The team is seven points from safety but has played fewer games than all the other teams in relegation danger.
“Frustrating with that one, I thought we were very good defensively and in attack,” Burnley manager Sean Dyche said.
“We created some golden chances today, we’ve got to continue doing that and we have got to take them. There were two or three, against this level of opposition, that are big chances today.”
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