Burnley keeper Nick Pope thankful for teammates’ hard work for keeping him in race for the Golden Glove
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Brazlian Ederson went level on Saturday evening after City’s 5-0 win at Brighton, on a day where Pope and Alisson cancelled each other out in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Pope took the man of the match honours after a superb display, with a string of top-class saves to deny Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in particular.
And while he is delighted to be in the running for the award, which has only ever been won in the 15 years it has been up for grabs, by keepers from Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - and only one Englishman in former club colleague Joe Hart - Pope accepts being wouldn’t be in contention without his teammates’ defensive diligence.
After Burnley became the first side to prevent Liverpool winning at home in the Premier League since January 2019, Pope admitted he gave thanks to goalscorer Jay Rodriguez to keeping him in the hunt: ”I gave him a hug after, it was a great finish as well, it was another chance we created, and he managed to put it away. He’s been in great form, with the goal midweek as well, and we’ve always got a chance with the boys up front.
“It (the Golden Gloves) would be something I’d put next to my front door so I can tell everyone about it, but it’s one of those things, it really is a team effort, even though it’s stuck next to my name a little bit.
”I felt that the boys have really helped me out throughout the season, that’s where we’ve built our character and our attitude, it comes from within the squad, day in, day out, we stick together and fight for each other, and that goes down to that.
”Clean sheets are very much a part of that, working hard, getting men behind the ball and bodies on the line to keep the ball out of the net. That’s something they’ve done for me since the first day I came here.
”It’s nice, but without the lads working their socks off, it doesn’t give me a chance. They’re there every minute, working as hard as they can.
”It really fills me with confidence and really runs through the team from the boys at the top.
”It was nice to get involved, the lads would say they keep most of the shots away from me, so it’s nice to have a few touches!”
Liverpool had won 24 Premier League games on the spin at Anfield, and were two games away from the first perfect home record in the league since Sunderland 128 years ago.
Pope was delighted to throw a spanner in the works of the champions’ record bid: “It’s great, to come to the big teams, and the champions, and come away with a good performance from the team and the boys, and to get a point.
”I felt like we deserved it in the end.
”After they scored, our reaction was top end, and I think we created chances for ourselves, which was great.
”They’re a top team, they’re relentless, they have been for the last two years, 99 points last year and didn’t win the league, but won the Champions League, you know what they’re about, they’ve been a top team for years now, and this year you feel they’ve got what they deserved with winning the title, so it was nice to be in the way.
”We’ve been top end, the lads put in the work during the break, the lockdown, and it’s bearing fruit now.
”You wouldn’t have said that after the City game, but it’s what you’ve got to deal with in the Premier League, you’re not going to win every week, you have to deal with being beat, and our reaction says a lot about this group and the character we’ve shown since.
”It’s one defeat in 13 now, and we came here not fearful, not scared of playing Liverpool, even though they’re champions, we feel like we’re in a good space ourselves and we came with intentions of getting something.”