Gary Lineker joked that Micah Richards successfully cursed Alisson Becker by speaking to the Liverpool goalkeeper prior to the 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Saturday.
The Brazilian had a rare off-day at the Etihad Stadium, having been partly culpable for Erling Haaland’s goal while also getting away with some stray, risky passes out from the back which didn’t find a teammate.
Speaking on The Rest Is Football podcast, the Match of the Day host teased the ex-City defender over his pre-game chat with the 31-year-old.
Lineker jibed: “I saw you before the game and you were talking to the Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson. Considering he’s not even a Manchester City player you were a bit crawly and all that ‘oh you’re so good!’
“You asked him a reasonable question, though. You said ‘You’re the best in the league at one-on-ones, what’s your secret? You’re so great at it’
“Then obviously a few minutes into the game Haaland goes through, knocks it straight past him and it goes through him. Whatever you did to curse him, it worked Micah! That’s why he’s the ambassador at Man City!”
When fellow pundit Alan Shearer joked that Alisson would never speak to Richards again as a result, the former City defender replied, “We call that reverse psychology, that one” and burst into his familiar excitable laugh.
Alisson doesn’t need anyone else to tell him that he was well below his usual best on Saturday, but one shaky performance doesn’t detract from the heroics that he regularly performs for Liverpool.
Even at the Etihad three days ago, he still made a couple of important saves, and it’s beyond argument that he’s rescued far more points for the Reds than he may have cost us.
Unfortunately, we could have to manage without the Brazil goalkeeper for a few weeks after he appeared to tweak his hamstring in the closing minutes of the 1-1 draw at the weekend. Caoimhin Kelleher is a more than capable deputy, but the first-choice stopper would nonetheless be a very difficult presence to replace.