George Boyd should know all about Boxing Day opponents Liverpool - after all, he recently guided them to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League on Football Manager!
The Clarets wideman has been brushing up on the Reds’ tactics and squad as he kills time on the game on his smartphone.
But he has resisted the temptation to buy himself for the Anfield club!
The 29-year-old explained: “There’s about 15 of the boys, it’s easy on your phone on the train down to London.
“I think there’s a few of us who chose Liverpool to see who could do the best with them. I’m struggling though.
“I’m not doing very well so I’ve started a new one now.
“I finished fifth, I got bored, I’ve gone to Stevenage now!”
Asked whether he had made a transfer swoop for his own services, he smiled: “No, I might be a reserve somewhere!”
His game has given him some insight into the job Brendan Rodgers has on his hands after the summer departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but the Scotland international isn’t joining the chorus of criticism heading the Irishman’s way at present: “I think he’s a top manager, he’s got that mindset where he’d do well abroad as well, he’s done well here and there’s no reason why he couldn’t go abroad and do well there.
“He’s a top coach.
“He proved last year with how close they were, they spent a lot of money in the summer and it will take time, they’ve brought a lot of new faces in, but you see what a top quality coach he is.”
In December last year, Boyd was a late substitute as Hull City recorded a 3-1 win over Liverpool at the KC Stadium, and he is confident of a repeat at Turf Moor: “I think we played Liverpool last year around the same time at Hull and got a great result, it would be brilliant for our season if we can get the three points again.
“They’re not in a good run of form at the minute and we’re going in full of confidence, there is that edge at the minute where you do fancy beating them, but I think that’s a confidence thing.
“They played well against Arsenal, they’ve just been on a bit of a blip but the class is always there and it will come through in the end.
“They’re a quality side and I’m sure they’ll find winning ways soon, but hopefully not against us.”
Burnley are starting to change opinions around the country as they adapt to life in the Premier Division, but Boyd feels the Clarets’ current results were a matter of time: “Our performances were there at the start of the season, we just weren’t getting the results, but I think you can see that belief and anyone who’s watching us at the minute, we’re a handful.
“Everyone still probably expects that we’ll get relegated but there’s a belief in the building that we’ll be fine in this division.
“It shows how far we’ve come that we went to Spurs and were really disappointed that we didn’t get something from the game, it shows the progress of the team and we’re enjoying every minute of it.”
Boyd is eagerly anticipating a festive season which includes a trip to Manchester City on Sunday, and he isn’t an advocate of a winter break: “I love it, as a youngster going to watch Palace on Boxing Day, you looked forward to it.
“I think it’s brilliant for the fans, they can have a good drink on Christmas Day, I’m all for it.
“We’re all quite fit, so four games in eight days is pretty tough, but I think it’s brilliant.”
Boyd’s fitness is well renowned - recently it was revealed he had three of the top 10 distances covered in Premier League games this season, and he said: “It’s something I’ve prided myself on throughout my career but I think it’s more evident in this team because everyone works so hard.
“You’ve got Barnesy running 12km as a striker, which is unheard of.”