BBC pundit Ian Wright hailed Nick Pope’s performance for Burnley in their 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday as “absolutely unbelievable”.
The Clarets became the first team in 18 months to deny the champions a Premier League victory at Anfield as they claimed a point on Merseyside at the weekend, with Wright firmly believing that the goalkeeper was a huge factor in Sean Dyche ending Liverpool’s 100% home record in the league this seaosn.
Speaking on Match of the Day [via Lancashire Live], the ex-Arsenal striker said: “Nick Pope was fantastic. His manager said he had his boots on the wrong feet because of his kicking but some of his saves were absolutely unbelievable. He closes down very well.
“The saves he made kept them in the game for them to come back and that’s what happens in this league.”
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When looking at the statistics from Saturday’s game, it is little wonder that Wright has been so complimentary about Pope’s performance at Anfield. The Burnley number one made no fewer than eight saves against Liverpool, two more than the number of shots that his team managed over the 90 minutes (the Reds had 23 shots in total).
Sky Sports named him as man of the match and noted two particular first half stops from the Englishman, a “magnificent acrobatic save” to keep out a Mohamed Salah volley at 0-0 and a reactionary save to get to a “fierce left-footed shot” from Sadio Mane just before the interval.
If there was one blemish to Pope’s game at Anfield, it probably was his ball distribution. While he ended the match with eight accurate long balls to his name, that was out of 34 that he attempted overall, while only 10 of his 36 passes (28%) found a team-mate, as per Sofascore.
The 28-year-old’s display against Liverpool was no freak occurrence, though. He has been consistently excellent throughout the season, keeping the joint-highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League with 14 (the same as Manchester City’s Ederson) and making the fifth-most saves in the division with 112.
Burnley sit in the top half of the Premier League table level on points with Arsenal and only four behind Sheffield United in seventh. Pope’s excellence not just against Liverpool but throughout the campaign has indeed been a significant part of the Clarets’ fine season, and it is quite understandable that Wright has been singing his praises.
Burnley fans, was the Liverpool game Pope’s best performance of the season so far? Comment below with your views!
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