LIVERPOOL knew they needed a new goalkeeper for a long time.
Long before Simon Mignolet had been dropped to the bench, not for the first but certainly last time in his Liverpool career. Long before Karius threw the ball at Karim Benzema’s feet, or let a long-range Gareth Bale effort through his hands.
Karius’s return to Liverpool for pre season looking like a Vietnam war veteran with PTSD won’t have been the final nail in the coffin. The ironic cheers and taunts from lower league opposition every time Karius made a mistake won’t have changed anything, apart from maybe the decision on who would be the reserve goalkeeper at Liverpool this season.
Liverpool had already identified their new goalkeeper, not just a great shot stopper, but one who would revolutionise how they play from the back. They played it as cool as possible to try and get the price down, saying with as straight as face as possible in the media that they were happy with their two existing ‘keepers, and that they didn’t fancy Alisson anyway.
But on July 19, nearly two months after they announced the signing of Fabinho and with the team set to fly out to America for the pre-season tour, Jürgen Klopp had his man for a world-record fee.
Many, including myself, doubted the full extent a world-class goalkeeper would revolutionise this team. Let’s face it, we’d become so dominant at home that Jürgen could play most games in goal himself if he chose.
No one was doubting we needed a new fella in goal, mostly because we couldn’t bear to look at the other two anymore. But did it have to be the most expensive goalkeeper of all time? Couldn’t we just get a lad who could catch things and spend the rest on a forward?
I would imagine that Alisson’s last-minute save against Napoli, from point-blank range, with the whole of Anfield with their hearts in the mouth, has almost paid the transfer fee on its own.
Liverpool could have crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages and be on our way to frigging Baku, but instead it’s Madrid and all the riches, glory and general bossness that comes from being in the Champions League final for the second time in successive years.
He has been brilliant in the league, too. There have been many brilliant moments on the way to winning the Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets in the Premier League.
The moment that probably summed up his full range of skills best was probably at Turf Moor, in very un-Brazilian and very Burnley conditions, where he makes a top-class save from a set piece, manages to grab the ball in the melee, and launches a counter attack with a booming throw that sees Liverpool score and seal the win.
It is easy to say “you should get all that, he was the most expensive goalkeeper in the world”. But a big fee is never a complete guarantee of success. Just ask our friends at Old Trafford.
He deserves great credit for how quickly he has adapted to his new club and country, and the recruitment team deserve great credit for identifying him as the perfect goalkeeper for this Liverpool team – with the correct amount of talent and personality to thrive.
That combination has seen him become a firm favourite on The Kop. This week, Alisson has talked about “the power the fans give to the team on the pitch,” that he has experienced on the other side as a Roma player who was blown away on a European night and now as a Liverpool player who witnessed Barcelona succumb to the same fate.
He should know that he has contributed to that positive atmosphere this season. That the Anfield crowd is at its worst and quietest when it is nervy. And nothing makes us more nervy than a goalkeeper in front of us who looks unsure.
Alisson has been outstanding, eye-catching but above all: sure. A walking clean sheet.
One more please, Alisson. One more.
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Alisson has been great, no doubt. But would he have had a similar impact without the calming influence of Van Dijk? Would Karius not have benefited from the same effect? How would Alisson have reacted with the nervous energy being transmitted by the earlier back four, or indeed, the earlier centre back pairing?
We will never know now, but here’s looking at a great defensive rear guard for the next few years!
Karius played behind big Virg, didn’t help him. Thete’s a big difference in quality when you compate the 2 keepers
To be fair, Karius behind Van Dijk got us into the top 4 and a CL final which is normally a pretty good level.
The difference Alisson has made, though, is the next step up. Record clean sheets, another CL final via arguably tougher set of opponents and a record points haul in the league.
Karius played behind VvD and had TAA and Robertson. Didn’t make any difference.
With regards to the CL. I will defend Karius. An elbow to the side of the head that was done with force will have left him dazed and indeed concussed. That is why retrospectively Ramos should have received a lengthy ban for maiming not one but two players.
I am pleased though we spent the money on Alisson, who is a far superior keeper.
All the know it alls who wanted the removal of achterberg are very quiet these days also. Jurgen never had any issue with him when migs or karius were in goal with everyone putting 2+2 together.
Hopefully that’s put to bed now
@Johno “everyone putting 2+2 together.” which includes you of course.
Based on your comment regarding Karius and Migs, it seems like you think it was the two goal keepers who were the culprits for LFC’s failure to progress, or win anything, so John Achterberg didn’t have anything to do with their development.
What about Pep Reina? Was he also another culprit? I’m curious to know from you what Achterberg was doing then?
Jurgen also didn’t have any issues with Moreno in the Europa final or Karius in goal for the CL final. Jurgen backs whoever he backs even if it is the wrong choice.
The entire article is devoted to Alisson without a mention of the GK coach.
It seems from the article like Achterberg had nothing to do again with this one either, because Alisson pulled out saves beyond what a GK coach might have predicted in training at times and was more of the finished article when he was bought.
So leaves me wondering, and perhaps you can enlighten us with, what Achterberg actually does if he had no hand in either, Reina, Migs, Karius and Alisson’s development? Or does he only work well with superstars?