Nick Pope believes Liverpool’s recent lean run in front of goal makes them an even more dangerous proposition ahead of Burnley’s visit to Anfield on Thursday evening.
The vaunted front trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have been largely subdued lately, with the Reds scoring once in their last four Premier League matches – and none in their most recent three top-flight games.
Liverpool will be hoping to break that undesirable streak against the only side to avoid defeat at their Merseyside fortress last season – when Pope’s performance was highly praised by Jurgen Klopp following a 1-1 draw last July.
But when it was put to him that now is a good time to face the defending champions, a circumspect Pope said: “I don’t think there is any danger of us thinking that or taking Liverpool lightly.
“They have scored one in four and you kind of think there will be goals around the corner. I don’t think we will be looking in four games’ time and they have only scored one more. I think we have got to be wary of that.
“Going into the game we cannot take them lightly or look at them less so than we did last season when we went to Anfield and they were already champions. The mindset and attitude we have to have is the same as last season.
“We have to be confident. We are going around the Premier League to different grounds in a lot better place to a couple of years ago. We are kind of thinking we can get points anywhere.
“We need to have that attitude: no fear, protect our goal, attack with freedom and try to get points out of the game.”
Pope, who made his full Premier League debut at Anfield in a game which also ended as a 1-1 draw in September 2017, spoke of his relief and optimism at the club’s recent takeover, which ended months of speculation.
Investment firm ALK Capital completed its acquisition of Burnley on New Year’s Eve and new chairman Alan Pace has pledged to back manager Sean Dyche in the January transfer window to help the club retain their top-flight status.
Pope said: “When it dragged on and you hear rumours and then it doesn’t get done, I think that doesn’t help a team.
“I’ve been at clubs before where takeovers are spoken about and rumoured but don’t happen or take a long time to happen and that can have a negative effect.
“The fact that it got done, it does give you a boost and drains away all the negativity. We can look forward now. The new owners seem ambitious and want to take the club forward and what more can you ask for as a player or fan?”
As well as attempting to help 17th-placed Burnley remain in the Premier League over the coming months, Pope has cast a glance towards this summer’s rearranged European Championship.
Pope is behind Everton’s Jordan Pickford in England head coach Gareth Southgate’s pecking order, but the Clarets keeper would relish the opportunity to be part of the squad for a major tournament.
He added: “It’s not something that I think about week in, week out, but it’s something that I’m massively looking forward to.
“I’m hoping to be a part of it, it’s the European Championship in your own country so it’s definitely something that’s exciting and good to look at in the future.
“It doesn’t keep me up at night, and I don’t think about it too much in the day, but it’s something that I can enjoy when it comes along.”