The signs were there before kick-off. Twice in 15 minutes, Turf Moor’s DJ delved into his collection and put David Bowie’s classic ‘Heroes’ on at full volume.
Should Burnley keep playing in the manner that saw them bring Liverpool crashing back down to earth, Sean Dyche’s squad were just that; their third crack at trying to get established in the Premier League is up and running after a thumping afternoon in East Lancashire.
Liverpool had not lost at Turf Moor since Boxing Day 1973 and after opening their campaign with a scintillating win against Arsenal, it was expected they would move through the gears and get an early foothold in the race for a top four place.
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, MATCH ZONE AND PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
BURNLEY (4-4-2): Heaton 7: Lowton 7, Keane 8.5, Mee 8, Ward 7.5: Arlfeld 7, Marney 8, Defour 8 (Gudmundsson 56mins 7), Boyd 7.5: Gray 8 (O’Neill 90mins), Vokes 8 (Jutkiewicz 82mins)
UNUSED: Robinson (GK), Tarkowski, Kightly, O’Neill, Darikwa
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Mignolet 5.5: Clyne 4, Lovren 5, Klavan 5, Milner 5 (Moreno 78mins 5): Lallana 5 (Grujic 78mins), Henderson 5, Wijnaldum 4: Sturridge 4 (Origi 64mins 6), Firmino 5, Coutinho 5.5
UNUSED: Manninger (GK), Can, Matip, Stewart
Goals – Vokes (2), Gray (37)
Booked – Henderson
Attendance – 21,313
Referee – Lee Mason
Man-of-the-Match – Michael Keane
Not so. Not by a hundred miles. Burnley, thanks to first half goals from Sam Vokes and Andre Gray, took full advantage and, inspired by the energy and class of new record signing Steven Defour, they never looked like losing once they poked their noses in front.
This was a day the locals will enjoy, one to go alongside the night they beat Manchester United in August 2009, but it is one Dyche, their colourful manager, will demand is the catalyst for an campaign that ends with them staying up.
The headline on Dyche’s programme notes billed this as being ‘a game to savour’ and, as you might expect, the tone of the message he promoted was typically upbeat, reminding supporters that this was the type of occasion they hankered for last season in the Championship.
His words, clearly, had some effect as this wonderful old stadium was at its atmospheric best, a tremendous noise greeting the home side as they bounced out of the tunnel, with particular adulation reserved for Defour on his home debut.
Within two minutes, the din became even louder. There seemed no danger to Liverpool’s goal when Nathaniel Clyne received possession on the touchline but a careless, sloppy pass in field had calamitous consequences.
Clyne gave the ball straight to the lurking Gray, who in turn passed the baton on to Vokes and with Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren back pedalling, the Wales international smashed a drive from 18 yards that fizzed unerringly beyond Simon Mignolet.
For a side that had been so impressive six days prior at Arsenal, the goal seemed to scramble their senses. Liverpool’s players were bemused, passive and though they had 78 per cent possession in the opening 45 minutes, never once did they threaten to find a way past Tom Heaton.
Too often Adam Lallana found his forays towards Burnley’s area blocked off, while Philippe Coutinho – the creative spark in the victory at the Emirates Stadium – had one of those afternoons that drive his critics to distraction, when every shot he hit ended up going high and horribly wide.
Coutinho, however, was by no means Liverpool’s worst offender. Daniel Sturridge, for instance, performed in a manner that could be best described as enigmatic, the highlight of his 64 minutes being a left-footed drive that thudded into the advertising hoardings.
It was his error, too, that left Liverpool with a mountain to climb in the 37th minute. He dallied on the edge of Burnley’s area and he was pounced on by Stephen Ward, who pilfered the ball away from the striker and set Defour galloping free.
As Defour began to motor, Liverpool’s midfield and defence began to back pedal in a manner that would have left their manager aghast; the Belgian skipped over two flimsy challenges as he carried the ball 60 yards before he had the awareness to pick out Gray.
From there, it was inevitable what would happen. Cutting back inside with a twist that allowed him to go one way and send Klavan spinning in another direction, Gray’s left-footed drive zipped away from Mignolet and nestled in his net. Cue bedlam.
For their aggression, for the way they scuffled and scurried and scrapped for every loose ball, this was no more than Burnley deserved. It was also precisely what Liverpool deserved and the manner in which Klopp marched towards the tunnel at the interval suggested sparks were going to fly.
Having made such an impression at Arsenal, it was imperative that Liverpool back those three points up with three more here but, instead, the only early conclusion you can draw about them is they will be as horribly erratic as always.
The thing which will have infuriated Klopp most is that Liverpool, even with 45 minutes to play, never looked like forcing their way back into the contest and Burnley, it has to be said, were comfortable, tackling, blocking and snuffing out danger whenever it loomed.
They never looked like adding to their lead but did that matter? Not a bit. Burnley were in full control and come the final whistle there was another explosion of noise and another airing of Heroes. Now they have to make sure it is for more than just one day.