Burnley tried to do their usual thing at Turf Moor. It was a physical, ugly game that few neutrals will have enjoyed. But ultimately Sean Dyche’s side weren’t at their in-your-faces best here, and Liverpool won the game by having more quality in decisive moments.
Liverpool Starting XI
It’s the second week in a row for this group. Klopp liked what he saw.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (6) – Liverpool just turned up and played the usual game. They were better than Burnley. That’s all it took. There was nothing particularly fancy here but it was more than enough.
Adrian (5) – Burnley are targeting him at set pieces but without any luck. His kicking has been less than ideal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7) – Couldn’t get in the game until suddenly his cross went in the back of the net. It’s a funny sport.
Virgil van Dijk (4) – Not the most promising start, getting beaten fairly easily by Chris Wood. Uncharacteristic.
Joel Matip (6) – Doing his weird thing in position. Defensively, the threat has been more down Van Dijk’s side.
Andy Robertson (5) – Much like Alexander-Arnold, the ball hasn’t really got into the wide areas for full backs. Hasn’t really done anything wrong but not the game for him.
Jordan Henderson (6) – Not really a midfield game today, ball going straight over his head and thus he’s uninvolved. Did get into it a little more in the second half when more space became available. His substitution seemed to be more of a precaution than anything else.
Gini Wijnaldum (6) – See above. It’s one of those games for Gini where he feels anonymous.
Fabinho (5) – Been caught up the pitch a couple of times. Would be wise to hold his position better. He had been useful with his distribution but a shaky performance overall.
Roberto Firmino (8) – Seems to be deeper than usual, trying to slide Salah and Mane through. Ends up being vital for the second goal and does his thing for the third.
Sadio Mane (8) – Making some intelligent runs off the ball and gets his reward for it.
Mohamed Salah (6) – Looks like he’s at it today. Involved. Missed chances but it’s all positive as long as they’re coming his way.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5) – Still getting back to his old self. It’s good to see him playing again.
Divock Origi (n/a) – Not enough time on the pitch to be rated.
Xherdan Shaqiri (n/a) – See above.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Roberto Firmino – This wasn’t the highest quality game you’ll ever see. It was decided on moments of genuine quality, and no one offered that more than him. Liverpool’s playmaker and key defender, while playing as a striker.
The American was dynamic and lively early. Still in search for his first Premier League goal, Pulisic came close. In the 19th minute, he got off a left-footed shot at close range that was saved by gk Dean Henderson but deflected to Tammy Abraham who finished it to give Chelsea the 1-0 lead.
Tammy Abraham’s third goal of the season!
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 31, 2019
He won Chelsea a free kick in the attacking half in the 31st minute. In the 43rd, Tammy Abraham netted a brace to give the Blues a 2-0 lead going into the half.
The first half of play was, for the most part, some of the best that the youngest EPL side in history can provide. Energy in attacking, mobile possession, hunger to get to goal. The young trio of Abraham, Mount, and Pulisic will be extremely excited to watch as they grow and mature in the league.
A little more quiet in the second half, though Pulisic did win another free kick in the 54th minute on the attack.
Pulisic did stay on the pitch all match. However, in the end, it was another disappointing result for Chelsea, who drew 2-2.
The opposite of the first half, while young and energetic Chelsea are desperately missing a measure of top level experience and leadership both on and off the field. The defense that is barely handling a mid level EPL side is going to be stretched beyond capacity in the grueling Champions League draw.
Chelsea fields youngest Premier League side EVER today
It’s worth noting again that Pulisic, 20, was part of the youngest side EVER today in Premier League history.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 31, 2019
United took the lead in the 10th minute when Daniel James powered in the ball into the net to make it three goals in four games for himself. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looked nervy against counter-attacks but held their nerve till half-time.
However, soon after the break, Southampton equalized through Jannik Vestergaard’s header in the 58th minute. The Red Devils huffed and puffed but failed to get that winner, even after the hosts went down to 10 men with Kevin Danso’s red-card. Here are our player ratings for the game.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (5.5) –
OGS made the smart decision to bench Jesse Lingard and play Juan Mata, who played a role in the goal. However, he surely can’t be happy with his striking options after this performance. Still needs to unearth the character in his side, who are still slow going forward and lackluster in the final third. Weird substitution to bring on Matic when they needed a winner and leaving Greenwood out for so late.
David de Gea (5.5) –
After the last-minute humiliation to Palace, De Gea seems much more composed this time. Distributing the ball pretty well and strong with his collection. Made a strong punch from a long-throw in the half-hour mark. Made a fantastic stop from Ings header in the 57th, but conceded seconds later with Vestegaards.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.0) –
AWB sloppily gave the ball away in the fifth minute, but made a superb recovery challenge seconds later. Gave away possession poorly after the goal, but lucky to see it be wasted. Almost scored his first senior goal in the 19th when his shot just whisked over. Defensively unquestionable with powerful tackles, but lacking creativity in final third.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka made 10 tackles against Southampton, becoming the first player to make 10+ tackles in a Premier League game this season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 31, 2019
Another impressive tackling display. 🤤 pic.twitter.com/jqsuIbTYfl
Harry Maguire (6.0) –
Not too involved like the other days, but has used his physique pretty well. Bit questionable against fast-breaks and got booked in the 39th for a rash challenge on Che Adams. Aerially still quite decent. Kept Adams quiet.
Victor Lindelof (5.0)-
The Swede’s a bit nervy after last week’s debacle. Almost conceded possession inside his own box and allowed Sofiane Boufal to take a shot in the 7th. Became more confident with his defending as the game went on, making crucial clearances. Played a stunning long-ball to send Rashford through on goal early in the second half. Outjumped by Vestegaard for the equalizer.
Ashley Young (5.5) –
Surprisingly stable defensively early on, making a few smart challenges. Flicked on the ball cleverly to James early on to create a chance. However, turned his erroneous defensive reputation up as the game progressed, making defensive scuffs and terrible miss-passes to frustrate the fans. Attempted an impressive curler which whisked just wide in the 89th.
Paul Pogba(6.0) –
Guilty of giving away the ball in dangerous areas to attract pressure. Pogba’s held a strong figure when marching forward, making some decent forward passes. Made some noticeable miss-passes when trying to launch counter-attacks.
Somewhat improved in second half, making a stunning Cruyff turn in the 64th. Looked much better after moving up in a more forward role, creating a chance for James with a smart pass after the red-card. Played in a peach through ball later, but saw Rashford scuff the opportunity. An extremely polarizing performance, but still unable to inspire like expected to.
Scott McTominay (6.5) –
McTominay was muscled out defensively at times, but has held his ground so far. Skied a shot over the post early on. Earned an assist by playing James the pass leading up to the opener. Made a crucial goal-saving block off Boufal’s shot in the 36th minute.
The Scot managed to get Kevin Danso sent off with a clever forward run in the 73rd. Subbed for Greenwood to bring more attacking options.
Andreas Pereira (5.5) –
Pereira looks slow on the counter-attack. Scuffed a shot from inside the area early on. Just not quick enough to make a real impact on the right wing. Subsituted after a gloomy afternoon.
Marcus Rashford (4.5) –
Rashford managed to get into space only in the 28th minute, but his whipped low cross from the right was cleared out. Lucky to see the offside flag go up when he missed a free header a minute later. Doesn’t’ look perfectly-synced with James as of yet.
Went through on goal in the 49th, but failed to nudge it past Gunn. Should’ve scored when played through in the 83rd. Looks extremely unconvincing as a centre-forward.
Daniel James (7.5) –
Like last week, looks much livelier moving inwards from the left-flank. James has continued his stunning start to the season with a bombastic finish into the top corner to give United the lead. Linking up brilliantly with Mata. Stung Gunn’s hands with a sizzling shot in the 21st.
Had another powerful shot saved in the 74th after cleverly finding some room. Put in some inviting crosses late into the game, but nobody could put the finishing touches to it.
Juan Mata (6.5)–
Mata can’t really help his midfielders defensively, but an asset going forward. Created a nice chance for Pereira early on and minutes later allowed James room to take his goal-scoring shot. Not the fastest, but very intelligent with his distribution to open space for James and Rashford. Taken off after running out of steam.
Jesse Lingard(5.0) –
Still looks clueless going forward. Impressively surged forward 30 yards in the 85th, only to take a unnecessary shot which had OGS fuming. Took another one minutes later which went wide.
Nemanja Matic(5.5) –
In his first appearance this season, Matic tried a heroic shot after coming on only to see it go over. Lacking creativity in the final third.
Mason Greenwood(N/A) –
The 17-year-old came on with minutes left, but had Gunn stretching with his sizzling stepover-curler late into the game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Daniel James was definitely the brightest positive sign for United from the game. Scored a stunning goal and is proving to be among their most prolific signings in recent years.
The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage draw is done. The four Premier League teams have clear paths to the knockout rounds. Barcelona drew the toughest group. Juventus may be challenged too. Manchester City yet again somehow managed the most favorable group.
The pairings improved Champions League title odds for City and Group G inhabitants RB Leipzig and Lyon. Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan got dinged for getting matched against Barcelona in the pseudo-Group-of-Death.
Champions League Group Stage Opening Match Lines
The odds are out for all of the opening group stage matches. Definitely a couple of interesting lines worth discussing.
|Inter Milan -335||Draw +420||Slavia Praha +950|
|Lyon -112||Draw +255||Zenit St Petersburg +320|
|Ajax -139||Draw +285||Lille +380|
|Borussia Dortmund +280||Draw +280||Barcelona -112|
|Chelsea -129||Draw +270||Valencia +360|
|Napoli +215||Draw +265||Liverpool +120|
|Benfica +150||Draw +250||RB Leipzig +175|
|Red Bull Salzburg -134||Draw +295||Genk +340|
|Olympiakos +325||Draw +270||Tottenham -118|
|Club Brugge +130||Draw +245||Galatasaray +210|
|PSG +130||Draw +240||Real Madrid +210|
|Atlético Madrid +170||Draw +230||Juventus +170|
|Bayer Leverkusen -210||Draw +320||Lokomotiv Moscow +600|
|Shakhtar Donetsk +850||Draw +410||Manchester City -305|
|Bayern Munich -1000||Draw +950||Red Star Belgrade +2000|
|Dinamo +240||Draw +245||Atalanta +115|
First, BVB opening at +280 at home against odds-on match favorite Barcelona (-112)? Borussia Dortmund is for real. They’ll have full throated home support. The +280 BVB win or +280 draw are worth a look.
Has Chelsea done anything this season to make you say, “they should be odds-on favorites against any major European club”? No. Didn’t think so. Valencia (+360) or the draw (+270) at Stamford Bridge is something to monitor after this weekend and the September 14th Chelsea matches.
Tottenham (-118), who may not actually even be that good right now, travel a long ways to Olympiakos (+325). Given their recent form, it’s within Tottenham’s range to drop points on the road in this opener.
Finally, Atlético Madrid (+170) essentially the same odds at win at home against Juventus (+170)? Same as last year, oddsmakers are way overvaluing Juve. Atléti all the way.
Where to Bet on Champions League in the US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.