Liverpool recorded their first Boxing Day win since 2009, with a 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moore.
Raheem Sterling fired the games only goal on 62 minutes, to give the Reds their first Premier League win in three matches.
In what was another disappointing performance however, there will be concerns about how the Reds went about the win – particuarly in the first half.
Brendan Rodgers opted to go for the same side that had produced arguably the performance of the season so far in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal last weekend, but the level in performance was not comparable as to what we had witnessed at Anfield.
Liverpool went in at half time fortunate to be at 0-0, having managed just two shots to Burnley’s 10, and barely managing to string three passes together.
The most notable moment of the first 45 minutes from Liverpool’s point of view was Simon Mignolet returning to the first team, when Brad Jones was forced off inside the first quarter of an hour with an injury.
Prior to that, Jones had been motionless as Danny Ings fired a shot off the post from the edge of the box, after Martin Skrtel had been turned with ease.
Mignolet’s first touch almost gifted Burnley a ridiculous opener, when the Belgian took too long to clear the ball and hit it straight against Ings. He was fortunate to see it bounce away from goal where he could retrieve it – however his kicking and nervousness on the ball was a constant feature of this match.
The closest Burnley came to opening the scoring predictably came from a corner, however Lucas Leiva was on hand to deflect a shot from the edge of the box inches past the post – with Mignolet seemingly beaten.
Emre Can was introduced at the break in place of Kolo Toure, who seemed to have picked up an injury.
The German was deployed at right centre back as Rodgers kept faith with the 3-4-3 system, as the Reds looked desperatley to find some sort of rythm.
The game looked to be fading into a dire goalless draw as Burnley started to run out of steam, until Philippe Coutinho’s first time touch over the top sent Sterling through on goal.
The England man calmly rounded Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal, before putting the ball beyond the men on the line with his left foot.
From that moment on Liverpool appeared in control. Philippe Coutinho flashed a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box, whilst Rickie Lambert saw a goal correctly ruled out for offside having been introduced for the Brazilian shortly after.
The Reds managed to defend a few set pieces successfully – for a pleasent change – and a weak shot wide from Danny Ings from just outside the box was the closest Sean Dyche’s side came to finding an equaliser.
There was still time for one last heart in mouth moment however, when Martin Skrtel somehow missed the ball in the box from one final punt forward – and was grafteful to see it deflect of Ings into the arms of Mignolet, who was fortunate to celebrate a clean sheet on his return to first team duties.
Hardly an inspiring performance, but three points keeps the Reds in touch with the sides pushing for that coveted fourth spot.