The substantial outlay to get Alisson Becker from Roma in the summer has been perhaps the wisest money ever shelled out under Jürgen Klopp’s Anfield reign.
Speaking to The Independent ahead of a do-or-die clash with Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final, the Brazilian has revealed all about his Golden Glove, debut season with the Reds as we hunt club football’s most prized silverware.
Despite his fancy footwork and stunning distribution, it’s “Making a save!” that Alisson claims is his favourite part of goalkeeping.
In fact, on the topic of ballplaying, attacking ‘keepers, the 26-year-old claimed, “I don’t think it is the most important thing for a goalkeeper. The most important thing is to make saves.
“Ability with the ball is just an accessory to help the team. It can be coached, but a goalkeeper first has to have it, and confidence is very important.”
Ultimately, it’s his saves that have got us this far. Making himself big and keeping out Arkadiusz Milik against Napoli got us out of the group and gave us the chance to make it as far as we have.
As Miguel Delaney states in his piece, Alisson previously gave a TV interview were he was quizzed on his £65 million move from Roma, “No one’s mentioned that in ages,” as he joked with his interpreter. “I think I paid half of it back with that save against Napoli.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 27, 2019
That save against Napoli was invaluable and, amongst other moments this season, vindicated the price Klopp paid for him; we also desperately needed a new ‘keeper and Alisson was a perfect fit.
Alisson’s importance for the Reds has an added edge this season, especially for our campaign in Europe; goalkeepers have always had leading role in Liverpool’s Champions League finals of old.
Roma saw Bruce Grobbelaar’s “spaghetti legs” in 1984, Jerzy Dudek pulled off sublime saves against AC Milan in Istanbul, while, on a darker note, Loris Karius had a night to forget last year in Kiev.
“I watched the game in 2005. It was a historic game, two great goalkeepers – Dudek and Dida, who is a great friend of mine. Dudek was sensational, not just with the saves during the game to keep Liverpool in it but also the heroics with the penalties.
In our profession, you’re either the hero or the villain, with no in between.”
Brazil’s No. 1 has clearly done his homework and could use Dudek as inspiration for Madrid.
He honourably made no mention of Karius in his interview, but Alisson feels worlds apart from his German predecesor.
When you think about the way in which both have reached Champions League finals, the comparison in how they’ve played and how us as fans feel having them between the sticks is drastically different.
“When I first signed, I was surprised by the value. I think I’ve given return to the club. I’ve met the expectation the club had in me through dedication and hard work, but I don’t think I’ve achieved anything yet.
I want to write my name in the history of the club by winning titles, and we’ve a great opportunity to do that this Saturday.”