James Pearce praises Liverpool for ‘smart move’ which could’ve helped to keep hold of one player

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James Pearce has praised Liverpool for a ‘smart move’ which may well have played a part in keeping one sought-after player at Anfield this summer.

The transfer window was dominated by the Saudi Pro League luring numerous high-profile footballers to the Middle East, with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho among the influx.

Al-Ittihad also submitted a lucrative bid for Mo Salah, but the Reds rejected it out of hand and were unflinching in their ‘not for sale’ standpoint.

As revealed by Pearce for The Athletic, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker was also wanted by Saudi Arabia, but a timely pay increase ultimately came in very useful in making the player feel ‘fully appreciated’ at Anfield.

The journalist wrote: “Alisson was also the subject of serious interest from Saudi, but Liverpool’s owners made it clear no offers would be entertained. Their stance was unequivocal – just as it was over Al Ittihad’s pursuit of Salah.

“The Brazilian goalkeeper is happy and settled at the club. Before the interest from Saudi, he received a considerable pay rise this summer after a clause was triggered in his existing contract which runs until 2027. He’s understood to be the squad’s third-highest earner behind Salah and [Virgil] Van Dijk.

“It proved a smart move, given that Alisson, who has been in outstanding form, felt fully appreciated at a time when eye-watering sums of cash were being offered in an attempt to attract players to the Saudi Pro League.”

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Just as resisting Saudi overtures for Salah was imperative for Liverpool, so was their equally uncompromising stance on Alisson, who’s every bit as important to Jurgen Klopp’s team as the Egyptian forward.

Time and again, the Brazil goalkeeper has come up with the goods when the Reds needed him, his value to the team exemplified by his incredible save from Miguel Almiron in the recent win over Newcastle at a time in the first half when we were 1-0 down and reduced to 10 men.

Such heroics aren’t in isolation, either. As noted by The Athletic‘s Gregg Evans this week, the 30-year-old outperformed the number of ‘expected goals on target’ against him last season by 10.52, a return exceeded by only one Premier League goalkeeper.

It won’t have surprised any Liverpool fan to see former Red Adam Bogdan label Alisson ‘supernatural’ and ‘a perfect goalie’ when speaking on The Kopite Podcast in recent days.

He’s repeatedly proven his importance to the team ever since he arrived at Anfield five years ago, and his pay rise was more than deserved.

As Pearce pointed out, it could’ve been a crucial decision by the club’s hierarchy to bump up the Brazilian’s wages just before the transfer interest arrived from Saudi Arabia. The thought of losing him to the Middle East during the summer would’ve been incomprehensible.

#Ep89 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: EOTK Insider with Neil Jones🎙️

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