AFTER a 2017 that will live long in the memory Burnley suffered injury-time heartbreak as 2018 began with an undeserved Turf Moor defeat.

This clash with a Liverpool side that the Clarets have enjoyed playing against in recent times was one that took a while to get going.

The sluggishness that many of the crowd were no doubt feeling after welcoming in the New Year translated to the pitch as the two sides battled with atrocious weather conditions and a second game in 72 hours.

But the contest roared into life in the final half hour and Johann Berg Gudmundsson looked like he’d rescued a point for Burnley, cancelling out Sadio Mane’s stunning opener, only for Ragnar Klavan to strike in the last minute of added time.

The two sides had taken contrasting approaches to a second game in three days. While Sean Dyche made just the one, entirely predictable change with James Tarkowski returning from suspension to replace Kevin Long, Jurgen Klopp made seven alterations.

Liverpool’s ‘fab four’ were down to just one, with Mane the only one to remain in the side.

While the Reds had lost quality the Clarets had gone with their best XI, but the pace of the schedule looked to be taking its toll in the first half as the hosts struggled to build up their usual energy and aggression.

The attacking threat from the visitors was limited though, with Nick Pope only called into action on the quarter hour mark, pushing away Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s drive, while Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum could only find the stands with efforts from distance.

Burnley had begun slowly, with Ashley Barnes slashing a left-footed shot over from an angle from Scott Arfield’s pass, before Arfield flicked a near-post header from Steven Defour’s cross straight at Simon Mignolet.

But as the rain began to tumble as the half drew to a close there were signs that the Clarets were finding their feet. Barnes was close to latching onto Gudmundsson’s cross before Arfield side-footed a low, left-footed effort narrowly wide.

It was the visitors who were back on the front foot early in the second half, with Ben Mee blocking a Lallana shot and sliding in to divert a Mane cross behind.

The Reds’ pressure paid off on the hour mark. Trent Alexander-Arnold was played into space on the right and his low cross was collected on the turn by Mane, who rifled a left-footed shot from the edge of the box into the roof of the net.

The onus was now on the Clarets to find a way back into the game and Defour tried his luck from 20 yards, only for Mignolet to show safe hands. It was the fresh legs of Liverpool that were now having the greater impact. Pope was at full stretch to keep out an Alexander-Arnold shot from 25 yards, while the visitors piled up a succession of corners.

The introduction of Sam Vokes for Jeff Hendrick breathed some life into the Clarets in the final quarter.

Barnes volleyed just wide after pinball across the Liverpool box from Defour’s deep free-kick. Vokes then came close himself but Mignolet was equal to his downward header from Gudmundsson’s cross.

But the Burnley pressure was increasing and they were rewarded in the closing stages when Charlie Taylor whipped in a cross that was glanced on by Vokes and Gudmundsson threw himself at the ball to head home at the back post.

Just as it looked like the Clarets were set to take points off Liverpool again the visitors won it.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s free-kick was headed towards goal by Dejan Lovren and Klavan added the finishing touch on the line, despite a hint of offside.