Clarets boss Sean Dyche had few doubts his good friend Brendan Rodgers would climb the table with his Liverpool side.
The Reds climbed to ninth place in the Premier League with a fortuitous 1-0 win at Turf Moor on Boxing Day, which left them seven points outside the top four and 10 behind Manchester United in third.
When you pay vast amounts of money, it is not just technical ability you are getting, it is the players with a better reading of the gameClarets manager Sean Dyche
Burnley go to Anfield tomorrow night with Liverpool fifth, three points behind Arsenal in third and two behind United, the only unbeaten since since the turn of the year.
Liverpool haven’t lost in 11 league games, and no top-flight club has picked up more points than Rodgers’ side in 2015.
Dyche said: “There are no guarantees in football, every manager knows that. Even with the great finance that some of these teams have they have still got to recruit well, formulate a team that works and the players that can gel.
“Having those players, you hedge your bets it will come together over a season, there might be pockets when it doesn’t as well, but when you’ve got that many good players, they will have a good run at it and they have done that with so many good performances and results.”
Was Dyche surprised of criticism levelled at Rodgers at the time?: “I’m not surprised by any criticism at any level, but it always seemed to me that managers had a window of six, eight, 10 games, even on a bad run and now it one game and it’s a crisis – particularly real big clubs, Liverpool are certainly in that pack.
“It’s constant opinions in the media and with fans on Twitter, facebook and other social media. It’s not ridiculous, I’ve learned a lot about it. It was beginning to build for me at the end of last season, a lot more media so there was a window to look at it, but you come into the Premier League and it changes radically.”
Burnley were unlucky not to beat Liverpool at Turf Moor, losing 1-0 to a Raheem Sterling goal against the run of play, and Dyche looked back: “I thought we were excellent against Liverpool earlier in the season and didn’t get anything out of the game.
“That’s something we’ve done too often this season. We need to get results and we are aware of that.
“They are a very good side and the form book suggests that. They don’t just get wins, they get big wins against big teams.
“It’s another challenge for us, but it’s a great thing. A year ago we were chomping at this kind of challenge, so there is no fear for us, it’s just about being clear-minded to go and deliver a performance.”
Rodgers switched to 3-4-3 at half-time at Burnley, with Emre Can coming on as a centre back, and that system has coincided with Liverpool’s upturn in fortunes.
Dyche noted: “There is a flexibility tactically to how it can work. When you pay vast amounts of money, it is not just technical ability you are getting, it is the players with a better reading of the game. He has tried a few systems usually, but usually it is down to players and they’ve got good ones.
“He’s found system that is appropriate for the players and he’s certainly getting the results.”
Burnley have won once in 11 games, and their forthcoming fixtures don’t get any easier.
But Dyche isn’t one to panic: “I don’t think there has been any panic, certainly not from the fans, the team or myself. There is a reality from the challenge. Panic comes from being Barcelona and being in the bottom four, or Borussia Dortmund who were this season at the bottom of the table – that was weird, that’s panic. That is something different.
“We know it is a tough challenge but outside perception is different to inside perception. There has never been panic, but there is a reality.”