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Long Praises Defensive Strength

Kevin Long happy to play his part as Clarets bid to thwart free-scoring Reds

31 December 2017

Kevin Long is delighted to be part of one of the Premier League’s meanest defences as the Clarets prepare for another major test against free-scoring Liverpool.

Long started five games in December and only once finished on the losing side, helping Burnley collect three of the four clean sheets they secured during the month – including a 10th of the season in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Huddersfield Town.

The Ireland international will face competition for his place against fourth-placed Liverpool at Turf Moor on Monday (kick-off 3pm) when James Tarkowski is available again from a three-match ban.

But whatever side boss Sean Dyche picks to face the Reds – the Premier League’s second highest scorers behind champions-elect Manchester City – Long has again underlined his value to a defensive department that boasts the fourth best record in the top flight.

“It’s all about getting a run of games,” said Long.

“It’s hard to play one game and then come back out. Playing a few games I feel I’ve been up-and-running.

“As a footballer you want to play games, especially against the big teams, so it’s been fantastic.

“We’ve got Ben (Mee) and Tarky and myself, so we’ve got a good defensive unit here.

“But it’s not just the defence. It’s the whole team that puts in a shift and when someone comes out or into the team, it makes it easier for everyone.

“We played well on Saturday, kept a clean sheet to set up a point and now we move on to Monday.

“We are only half-way through the season so nothing’s been achieved yet. We’ll keep going.”

The Clarets head into 2018 in seventh place in the Premier League - their highest at this stage of a top-flight season since 1973/74 - with just five defeats from the opening 21 games.

And Long is looking forward to another big Turf Moor occasion as the Clarets aim to kick off the New Year by trying to halt a Liverpool side unbeaten in the league since October, but which was held 1-1 by Burnley at Anfield in September.

“The fans always play their part. We will give Liverpool everything we’ve got and hopefully we can get a result,” he added.

“Liverpool are a fantastic team with some brilliant players going forward.

“We will have to be at our best and hopefully we can get something.

“We go into every game with no fear. There’s no point fearing the opposition.

“It’s 11 versus 11 on the pitch. All you can do is go and do your best and hopefully you can get something from the game.”

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