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Burnley 0-2 Liverpool

Burnley 0-2 Liverpool. Liverpool signalled their title ambitions by going top of the Premier League thanks to a hard-fought victory at relegation-threatened Burnley.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have only been beaten once so far this season and went two points clear of Arsenal at the summit despite some wastefulness in front of goal.

The Reds got the perfect start by netting after just six minutes as Darwin Nunez guided in a lovely finish from the edge of the box to end a run of 12 club games without a goal.

The impressive James Trafford was kept busy in the Burnley goal and had already smothered Harvey Elliott’s low drive before making a stunning fingertip stop to deny Mohamed Salah.

The wave of attacks from the Reds was unrelenting and Cody Gakpo had a goal disallowed for Nunez’s foul on Charlie Taylor, while Salah rattled the crossbar – all before half-time.

Elliott also had an effort chalked off for Salah interfering with play in a offside position, but the visitors did finally get their second when Diogo Jota smacked home in the final minute.

Burnley, meanwhile, failed to work Alisson into a single save and are in deep trouble in the bottom three, now fives points adrift of safety.

Aston Villa will go level on points with Liverpool if they beat Manchester United later on Tuesday (20:00 GMT kick-off), while Arsenal can regain top spot with success over West Ham on Thursday.

Liverpool are top of the pile approaching the end of the year, but what should have been a canter to victory turned out to be a triumph that had to be grinded out.

Klopp’s men had a total of 19 shots and worked Trafford into eight saves, hitting the woodwork once and having two goals disallowed.

But they have shown a formidable resilience so far this term and Nunez’s early strike with his eighth goal of the season and Jota’s well-taken finish late on secured maximum points.

The Reds should have been out of sight in the first half but Trafford made a string of saves, including to keep out low efforts from Wataru Endo and Salah.

The Egypt international came inches away from adding to his 12 league goals this term but smashed the top of the bar when through on goal, and was also judged to be offside after referee Paul Tierney consulted the pitchside monitor after Elliott’s first-time finish.

Liverpool may also feel aggrieved that VAR did not allow Gakpo’s thunderous effort to stand in the first half, but it did not matter in a contest they dominated from start to finish.

They have won their last seven games on 26 December and also continued their excellent form on the road, now scoring in their last 14 successive away games.

Burnley won the Championship last season with 101 points but have had little joy in the Premier League and are staring at an immediate return to the second tier.

Above them, Luton and Nottingham Forest both won earlier on Tuesday, making Burnley’s daunting task against Liverpool even more important – but in truth they did not lay a glove on their opponents.

This was their ninth loss in 10 league games at Turf Moor this season, and although they battled for much of the encounter they were unable to get a shot on target.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson might have levelled the scores when he sent his free header over the bar in the second half and Sander Berge also dragged a shot wide to leave their side with only three wins at the halfway stage of the season.

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