Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: It was us versus Nick Pope
"There was always one guy who wanted to deny us and it was Nick Pope"
Last Updated: 12/07/20 7:07am
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated after coming up against an inspired Nick Pope during the 1-1 draw with Burnley at Anfield.
Jay Rodriguez equalised for Burnley in the 69th minute after Andy Robertson had given Liverpool a first-half lead.
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It meant Liverpool were denied their 25th consecutive league win at Anfield - and it might have been a first defeat since April 2017 had substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson found the net instead of striking the bar in the closing stages.
The champions had their most attempts (23) without winning a Premier League game since December 2017 (23 against Everton), with Pope making eight saves to give his side the chance to earn a point.
"It was a good performance in most parts of the game," Klopp said. "There were moments when it was Liverpool against Nick Pope. It's hard to create against a team so organised but we created super chances.
"There was always one guy who wanted to deny us and it was Nick Pope. The game left the result open for Burnley. There were corners where Ali (Alisson) was under pressure from those around him and they were always a threat from set-pieces.
"I'm fine for the performance for 80 minutes and it was probably one of our best games against Burnley, but we couldn't get a second and that's why we've been left with a point."
Sean Dyche's Burnley side were bypassed so easily by some quick, one-touch passing moves that they committed only one foul in the opening 45 minutes despite having to defend 73 per cent possession by their hosts.
But Pope stood tall to deny Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with two brilliant saves from point-blank range to ensure the damage was limited to Robertson's headed opener.
Pope continued to frustrate the hosts, denying Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mane in the closing stages and when Salah dragged a shot in stoppage-time straight into his gloves, Burnley had their point.
Klopp was seen showing his frustration at the final whistle, but the Liverpool boss revealed it was not concerning a penalty appeal as Robertson went down inside the box under a challenge by Gudmundsson.
"I didn't speak about the Andrew Robertson situation," he said. "I spoke about the goalkeeper situations as I feel like I lost the game. I know we didn't but how can you let the goalkeeper constantly get blocked by three players? It isn't how it should be."
Burnley heartbeat delights Dyche
Burnley boss Dyche was understandably delighted to have earned a point towards their late European push.
The Clarets have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League games (W7 D5), and are unbeaten in their last five. Only Manchester United (10) are on a longer current unbeaten run than the Clarets.
"I'm very pleased, considering we hardly got into the game in the first half," said Dyche. "We just about hung in there with the goalkeeper making a few saves. At half-time, I said even top sides find it hard to maintain that level for an entire game. I thought we were a threat from set-pieces all day and we took our chance.
"The technical detail of football has advanced, but you still need a heartbeat and a group of people who care. I still think that's so important in elite sport, and we've got it in abundance. I thought as the game went on, into the last 10 minutes, we looked really physically strong. There was a clear attempt to go and win the game and we were unfortunate at the end.
"I know the game could've been out of sight early on, but we dug in and created better chances in the second half. If there's ever an advert for a team giving everything it has been us during this run of games and results. The players worked very hard to get something from the game and they deserve everything they got."
Pope has been in superb form since the restart and still leads the race for the Golden Glove with 14 clean sheets after Alisson's failure to level his tally.
Dyche added: "I thought Popey was excellent apart from he had his shoes on the wrong feet because of his kicking. His job is to keep the ball out of the net and he does that very well.
"Nick's been performing well all season. One of his biggest strengths is when he makes a mistake he just gets on with it. He's unorthodox in the sense that he makes saves you wouldn't expect him to make. He's well protected by his defenders and he's respectful of those in front of him too. We've built a mentality and a resilience over some time."
Analysis: Pope now England's No 1?
Sky Sports' Peter Smith...
As well as an impressive point for Burnley, Rodriguez's equaliser at Anfield ensured his team-mate Pope remains on course to clinch the Premier League's Golden Glove ahead of Liverpool's Alisson.
There was no shutout for Pope on Saturday - a stunning Robertson header saw to that - but there was yet another string of superb saves, including fine stops to deny Salah and Mane, which surely must be edging him towards England's No 1 jersey.
That performance at Liverpool came after Pope had made two decisive saves in the midweek win at West Ham and it should be noted that he has had to make 112 saves on his way to the 14 clean sheets which put him top of the Golden Glove standings. Alisson has been far less busy with 55.
Jordan Pickford has been England manager Gareth Southgate's preferred choice for some time now but the Everton 'keeper has looked far less assured than Pope since the restart, while it may be too soon to promote Sheffield United's standout 23-year-old Dean Henderson to the role.
England are next in action in September, so Southgate will be weighing up his options - and two-cap Pope has earned the chance to show he can step up to the international stage.
Champions Liverpool now travel to Arsenal on Wednesday at 8.15pm, live on Sky Sports, while Burnley host Wolves at 6pm on the same day in the Premier League.
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