BURNLEY slipped to a third straight defeat, but can at least take great encouragement from a performance that made Liverpool work hard for their Turf Moor win.

Jack Cork gave the Clarets a deserved breakthrough against the second placed Reds after a goalless first half.

It was only the fourth game Sean Dyche’s side had taken the lead in this season. But their celebrations were short-lived as James Milner fired in the equaliser just eight minutes later. Roberto Firmino came off the bench to tap in with his first touch soon after, before Xherdan Shaqiri wrapped things up in a stoppage time counter.

Facing Liverpool, particularly given the eight-game winless run Burnley are on, anything you get is a bonus. And coming as close as they did – with Ben Mee having a stoppage time header saved by Alisson before Shaqiri struck - will surely give cause for optimism ahead of the visit of Brighton on Saturday.

There was certainly a vast improvement on a dismal display in defeat at Crystal Palace, after which boss Dyche promised changes, and made five.

That meant a return for James Tarkowski after a three-game absence following hernia surgery, in place of Kevin Long, while Phil Bardsley, Robbie Brady, Ashley Westwood and Ashley Barnes came in for Matt Lowton, Aaron Lennon, Jeff Hendrick and the injured Steven Defour.

Dyche suggested after defeat at Palace that he had been ‘too loyal’ to certain players this season so changes were expected, if not the quantity of them.

And in just the first few minutes at Turf Moor last night there was quality to go with the manager’s decisions.

Chris Wood looked to get on the front foot. Barnes played in the striker after receiving a long pass from Bardsley. The New Zealand international, however, took one too many touches and the chance went begging.

Alberto Morena fired over at the other end, while Burnley were relieved to defend a free kick that Daniel Sturridge had conned the referee into awarding with his outrageous dive.

Instead it was the Clarets who have should have gone into the break ahead, but after setting up Wood with a delightful long diagonal, and drilling agonisingly wide himself after the resultant corner, Barnes’ sweet volley from Robbie Brady’s free kick was ruled out for offside.

The Reds made a much more assertive start after the break and it needed a fingertip save from Hart to deny Sturridge, and then an even more impressive stop to keep out Naby Keita’s rocket.

Burnley took the lead when Jurgen Klopp’s side failed to deal with Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s corner, and an unmarked Cork took advantage of Alisson being at sixes and sevens in spilling Wood’s initial shot, and stabbed home from close range.

It wasn’t long before Milner restored parity though, firing past an unsighted Joe Hart from the edge of the D.

Klopp then introduced more firepower from the bench, and with his first touch Firmino – one half of a double substitution alongside Mo Salah – tapped in Virhil van Dijk’s square ball.

A triple save from Hart and a goalline clearance from Bardsley gave Burnley a fighting chance before Alisson somehow kept out a Mee header in stoppage time. From there Liverpool broke, and Salah flicked the ball forward to Shaqiri to finish the job.

BURNLEY: Joe Hart 8; Phil Bardsley 8 (MOM), James Tarkowski 7, Ben Mee 7, Charlie Taylor 7; Johann Berg Gudmundsson 7, Ashley Westwood 7, Jack Cork 7, Robbie Brady 7 (Aaron Lennon 71); Chris Wood 7 (Sam Vokes ), Ashley Barnes 7 (Matej Vydra 83).

Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Sam Vokes, Jeff Hendrick, Aaron Lennon, Matej Vydra, Kevin Long.

LIVERPOOL: Alisson; Joseph Gomez (Trent Alexander-Arnold 23), Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Alberto Moreno (Mohamed Salah 65); Jordan Henderson, James Milner; Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge; Divock Origi (Roberto Firmino 66).

Subs not used: Simon Mignolet, Fabinho, Adam Lallana, Rafael Camacho.

Referee: Stuart Attwell