Burnley 0 Liverpool 1Burnley suffered the Boxing Day blues as Raheem Sterling struck the winner in a tense Turf Moor affair.
The Clarets had dominated large swathes of the game, with Danny Ings smashing a first half shot off the post.
But as the Reds came more into the game after the break, Sterling struck just past the hour mark to inflict a first home defeat in two months’ on Sean Dyche’s side
The consolation for the Clarets was a return to action for Welsh striker Sam Vokes, who was given an 18-minute run out as a second half substitute after nine months on the sidelines.
In a lively start, the Clarets forced the first half chance when Scott Arfield kept the ball in play and pulled the ball back for Ings, who was crowded out before he could spin and get his shot away.
At the other end, Tom Heaton easily kept out a weak, deflected effort from Phillipe Coutinho.
And in the 15th minute, Burnley were a whisker away from opening the scoring as Ings rattled the woodwork.
The Clarets leading scorer latched onto Mee’s throw infield and wrong-footed Brad Jones, only to see his strike cannon out from the foot of the left hand post.
That was Jones’ last piece of the action, as the injured keeper was replaced by Simon Mignolet.
And Burnley immediately set about putting the replacement under pressure.
Ings chased down and blocked an attempted clearance and soon afterwards Barnes headed over on the counter-attack following a one-two with Dean Marney.
Burnley were bossing possession, but there was always a threat of a break from the packed Reds’ midfield.
And on the half hour Steven Gerrard picked our Adam Lallana with a slide-rule pass, but the former Southampton man fired straight at Heaton from 18 yards.
However, it was the Clarets who were knocking on the door and following a sustained spell of pressure, a vital toe from Lucas turned Arfield’s volley just wide of goal before Barnes’ bicycle kick, from the resulting corner, was just too high.
George Boyd was next to try his luck, but his rising drive was just too high as the hosts ended the first half on the front foot.
The second half followed a similar pattern, but the game turned on its head just after the hour as the visitors took the lead.
Burnley crucially let a Gerrard header bounce in the centre circle and Coutinho spun to send Sterling scampering free.
The England striker still had plenty to do, but rounded the advancing Heaton and slotted the ball home past the despairing lunge of Jason Shackell.
Burnley responded immediately and from Trippier’s deep delivery, this time from the left following a half-cleared corner, Keane jumped highest but headed down and just wide.
Ings then danced his way into a shooting position, but couldn’t find the target as the game entered the final quarter.
That was the cue for Vokes to make his return to action, as he replaced Barnes to reunite his prolific strike partnership with Ings.
But despite the lift, Burnley could not turn their possession into the one clear-cut chance that might have salvaged something from the game.
BURNLEY: Heaton: Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Mee (Jutkiewicz 90), Arfield, Jones (Wallace 83), Marney, Boys, Barnes (79), Ings.
Subs: Gilks, Long, Kightly, Reid.
LIVERPOOL: Jones (Mignolet 16), Toure (Can 46), Gerrard, Coutinho (Lambert 74), Henderson, Sakho, Lallana, Lucas, Sterling, Skrtel, Markovic.
Subs: Morebno, Manquillo, Balotelli, Ojo
Booked: Lucas 84
Ref: A Taylor