Football: Liverpool return to English Premier League lead with hardfought win over Burnley

Edwin Nunez celebrates a goal against Burnley.
Edwin Nunez celebrates a goal against Burnley. Photo credit: Getty Images

Liverpool have reclaimed top spot in the English Premier League with a 3-1 win over Burnley at Anfield, but they were made to battle by a brave visiting side, before claiming all three points.

Liverpool are on 54 points, two clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand. Burnley remain second from bottom on 13 points.

Goals from Dioga Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez saw off a Burnley side that had gone in level at the break, with a Dara O'Shea goal.

Manchester City's 2-0 win over Everton earlier on Saturday had seen Pep Guardiola's side move one point ahead in the table and a packed Anfield expected a blistering start from the home side looking to reclaim top spot.

Instead, the stadium record attendance for a league game of 59,896 saw Burnley pose the greatest threat early, as Liverpool struggled to find a foothold. 

Juergen Klopp had to make do without keeper Alisson and defender Joe Gomez, both out with flu, and the suspended Ibrahima Konate.

Andy Robertson made his first start since October and Wataru Endo was straight back into the team, following Asian Cup duty with Japan, with Caoimhin Kelleher filling in between the posts.

Kelleher was called into action early, coming out to block down an effort from Zeki Amdouni, as Burnley created the early danger.

Liverpool began to grow into the game, but had little to show for their efforts, until Burnley keeper James Trafford's error at the corner-kick.

Alexander-Arnold whipped the corner in and Trafford came out to claim it, but got nowhere near the ball, and Jota had an easy header to give Liverpool the lead in the 31st minute.

Burnley never gave up and in the 45th minute, O'Shea directed a powerful header from a corner beyond Kelleher into the far top corner for his first premier league goal.

Diego Jota scores for Liverpool against Burnley.
Diego Jota scores for Liverpool against Burnley. Photo credit: Getty Images

Liverpool came out with renewed energy after the break and retook the lead within seven minutes. Harvey Elliot, a half-time substitute, played a ball across goal, which took a deflection, before Diaz dived in with a header from close range.

With 11 minutes to play, Liverpool wrapped up all three points. Another corner fell to Jota, but after his shot was blocked down, he passed to Elliot and his floated ball found Nunez, who leaned back and headed into the far bottom corner.

There was no way back for Burnley and Liverpool could have had another in added time, but Trafford saved a close range effort, when Nunez should have done better.

Earlier, Erling Haaland netted a brace with his first goals since his return from injury to lift Manchester City to a 2-0 home victory over relegation-threatened Everton and provisionally into top spot on the league table.

Haaland, who recently missed almost two months with a broken bone in his foot, netted his 15th and 16th of the season in the second half to break down some stubborn Everton resistance and go clear at the top of the league scorers' list.

He has 51 goals in 50 league starts - more goals in 50 starts than any other player in the competition.