Burnley's Ashley Barnes is looking to give Ballon d'Or favourite Virgil van Dijk a run for his money when Liverpool come to Turf Moor

Burnley striker Ashley Barnes
Burnley striker Ashley Barnes

Burnley striker Ashley Barnes loves nothing more than giving opposition defenders a run for their money.

The 29-year-old striker's reputation in the Premier League certainly precedes him, he's widely renowned as a centre back's worst nightmare.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Burnley's Ashley Barnes challenge for the ball at Anfield

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Burnley's Ashley Barnes challenge for the ball at Anfield

The Clarets' leading scorer, with 13 goals for the calendar year, continually wants to test himself against the best and there's nobody better than Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk at present.

The Dutch juggernaut is the current favourite to land the coveted Ballon d'Or, which would see him succeed Real Madrid's Luka Modric and become the first defender since 2006 to win the award.

Barnes's record against the Big Six, however, is remarkable. Of his 36 goals in the top flight, 33% of them have come against Manchester City, United, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and the reigning European champions.

And the forward, whose form since New Year's Day can only be only bettered by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (15) and City talisman Sergio Aguero (16), is looking to massage those numbers further.

"If selected it is amazing to be up against the best, you want to play against the best and come out on top," he said. "I have a good record against the top six so another goal would be lovely.

"I want to come off the pitch knowing that the centre half has had a run for their money and a tough game.

"I believe that I keep getting better each week and each day in training and hopefully that hard work will show in good performances."

Liverpool finished a point behind Pep Guardiola's champions last term and went on to beat Spurs 2-0 in the Champions League final at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.

Barnes knows exactly what they're up against - Jurgen Klopp's side are the only team in England's four tiers owning a 100% record - but he's confident the Clarets can cause an upset.

He said: "We go into every game confident, the training is fantastic, the group of lads we have here is probably the best one since I have been here so we are striving and want to finish in the top half.

"We know they are a good side, we don't need to watch them to know that. We know what they are capable of, but we will go and do our work and see what weaknesses we think we can capitalise on and we will try and do that."