Liverpool must account for Chris Wood in the box
Hal Robson-Kanu’s goal against Liverpool on Sundays shows you just how fine the margins are when defending at the Premier League level, and Rhys Williams learned a valuable lesson in the dangers of breaking the defensive line and not winning the ball.
Chris Wood is an even more potent attacking threat. He’s scored 12 goals this season for a Burnley side that is pretty anemic offensively, so he is the clear main threat for the Clarets. Wood pretty consistently scores 10 goals per season for Burnley, whereas nobody else on the team has scored more than three in the current Premier League campaign.
And Wood is especially dangerous in the air. He wins 4.6 aerial duels per game. His movement and physicality in the box could cause problems for Liverpool. It’s not enough for Williams and Nat Phillips to match his physicality in the air, but they also need to watch for subtle movements and constantly stay switched “on”. Because all it takes is one mistake or one ball into the box from the capable Dwight McNeil to create a great scoring chance for Wood.
Liverpool might not score more than one goal against Burnely, especially if the home side stack their own box. That means the Reds need to aim for perfection defensively. As we saw against West Brom, even the lower-level attacking sides in this league can take advantage of the slightest defensive error.