LLiverpool’s social media team posted a video on Sunday marking the second anniversary of Alisson’s arrival at the club. For 35 seconds, he displayed a rapid-fire collection of Brazil’s best saves, all played to a Samba beat, and with the man himself shouting, “We’re celebrating now!” in the camera at the end.
It was an exciting and explosive way to celebrate Alisson’s time in Liverpool and, because of that, somewhat inappropriate. What has stood out in the goalkeeper’s contribution to the success of the team since arriving from Rome for a record £ 65million is how much it has been underestimated. No drama, no fuss, just a series of reliable performances from the handsome lumberjack with Eskimo blood. Indeed, that says a lot about Alisson’s freshness, composure and excellence for the champions of the world, Europe and England.When he makes a mistake, it looks like the football equivalent of a heat wave in December – unexpected and extraordinary.
“The consistency he has shown since coming here is in plain sight,” said John Achterberg, Liverpool’s first team goalkeeper coach. “Of course he’s one of the best, if not the best, in his place.”
Achterberg, an affable Dutchman who has been on Liverpool’s backstage staff for over 11 years, first discovered Alisson in 2013, when the Brazilian was playing for his childhood club, Internacional. Achterberg recommended him to Jürgen Klopp three years later and was delighted when he was signed as a replacement for Loris Karius following the German’s heartbreaking display in the 2018 Champions League final.
The new man has more than proven a significant improvement in his debut season – brilliant as Liverpool missed the Premier League title by one point and even more as they made up for their defeat in Kiev with a win in Madrid, achieving eight saves against Tottenham. to help secure this sixth European Cup.
This led to Alisson being named the UEFA and Fifa goalkeeper of the year, and he was expected to get better and better this season. By some measurements, he actually backed off, but much of that can be attributed to injury and playing behind less secure defense. As for Achertberg, there has been no drop in Alisson’s performance levels – on the contrary, the 27-year-old has confirmed during this most unusual campaign not only his status as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but also the perfect one for this side of Liverpool.
“The way we play means the goalie has to be a versatile goalie, someone who can handle the balls over and sweep because we’re playing with a high line,” says Achterberg. “We also want someone who comes for crosses, who is decent head-to-head, who can make saves… a lot of goalies can’t adapt to the way we play, but Ali does it because he has these skills.
“What is particularly exceptional about him is his speed and power. This allows him to quickly cover gaps and quickly reach corners of the goal. And when the ball goes over the top, even if it’s in a run with a fast striker, it can beat them. There was one game where Ali had the fastest sprinting speed of the whole team – he’s very fast and maybe that’s something people don’t recognize about him.
Alisson also has excellent distribution skills, as most strikingly evidenced by the sweeping kick that scored Mohamed Salah’s goal in the 2-o win over Manchester United in January. But ultimately, it’s hard to walk away from the feeling that his greatest strength is this icy temper. He never seems restless or behaves erratically and, from Achterberg, comes the feeling that this is what allows Alisson to quickly overcome his rare mistakes, such as the loose play that led Reiss Nelson to score during the recent loss to Arsenal.
“Ali knows the best option was to clear the ball on the pitch,” said Achterberg. “Maybe it happened because the goal wasn’t 100% – it can happen when you win the league – but he knows if something’s wrong you have to move on because you can still affect the rest of the game; you cannot affect the mistakes you made.
“Ali is always calm and that’s why he’s able to make good decisions in times of high pressure. This calm also gives confidence to his teammates and the crowd. Everyone trusts him.
Achterberg admits that Alisson was “quite frustrated” on his 10-week layoff following the calf injury he sustained in the day one win over Norwich (with Adrián providing cover in the goal), but he was determined to get in shape and, once he was, the Brazilian No.1 was soon back to his best. Arguably his most eye-catching display was in December’s Club World Cup semi-final victory over Monterrey, when he made several excellent saves.
𝑺𝒑𝒆𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 save 🙌
𝑻𝒐𝒑-𝒄𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒔 distribution 💫
𝑴𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 celebrations 😍 pic.twitter.com/EPULiHRwZR
– Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) 19 juillet 2020
There have been plenty more, as this club video shows, with one notable save this season being the low, right claw that kept Teemu Pukki from scoring an almost certain goal for Norwich at Carrow Road in February. Achterberg, to whom he asked if he had a favorite, replies: “No, because every save is important, especially the ones you make when it’s 0-0 or 1-0 as they can be the difference between team that wins or not.
“Last season, for example, Ali made some vital saves in the Barcelona game without which we wouldn’t have made it to the [Champions League] final, and if you go back further, there was the one that won the game against Napoli. The one against Norwich was also important as the game was scoreless at the time.
After finally getting their hands on the Premier League trophy, Liverpool travel to Newcastle on Sunday with a spring in their step but nothing to play for, and this is especially the case for Alisson given he is out of the race for the golden glove. He won it last season with 21 clean sheets; the maximum he can get this time around is 14, which would at least leave him short of Nick Pope and Ederson, who are vying for the prize. But while the past two years are anything to say about, he’s still likely not only to perform at his best, but to perform at his best.
“Not everyone can play as a goalkeeper for Liverpool,” said Achterberg. “You must be as good as Alisson. Luckily we have the Alisson. »