A Dave Knittel Original
Liverpool FC announced the signing of starting Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker in a world record transfer for a goalkeeper. Alisson joins Liverpool from AS Roma. He was one of the most sought-after goalkeepers this transfer window.
It’s no secret that Liverpool goalkeepers Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have struggled over the past few seasons. Mignolet was given plenty of opportunities and wasn’t able to take them, so it makes sense that the team was ready to move on from him.
(When your mother checks your search history^^^)
Karius is an interesting case. As a young goalkeeper, it takes time to settle into a new team and gain confidence. David De Gea was a mess for Manchester United early in his time there and has evolved into one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We saw flashes of Karius becoming a better goalkeeper, mainly in the second half of last season, but it’s tough to see him being able to recover from the blunders in the Champions League Final (certainly not while continuing to play for Liverpool).
It made sense for the club to prioritize getting a new keeper this offseason and Alisson is a fantastic choice. He is 25 years old. Though he’s young, he has experience playing for a strong Roma side last season. He is good positionally, a good shot-stopper, can play with the ball at his feet and seems to be a commanding presence. He also was preferred in the Brazil national team over Ederson, who is a fantastic keeper in his own right. Alisson will instill more confidence into the defensive line that was already bolstered by the mid-season acquisition of van Dijk last season.
To look slightly negative at the transaction, the fee paid is likely way above Alisson’s market value. Additionally, he really only has 1 season of top level, top flight experience. Prior to his breakout season last year with Roma, he sat the bench for 1 season in Italy and previously played in the Brazilian top division.
I’m less concerned about the transfer fee. Klopp has shown with van Dijk and other transfers that he is willing to pay more for the exact player he wants, rather than save money and purchase a second or third choice. That is what the best teams in the world do. It is also a message to players and other clubs that Liverpool will be competing for top talent and trophies. I trust Klopp’s judgement and expect Alisson to help the club win trophies this season and for years to come.
I am slightly more concerned about his lack of experience. Looking at it slightly cynically, it’s possible Alisson hit a good run of form at the right time to become the starter at Roma and for Brazil. I doubt that as he seems to pass the eye test of a standout goalkeeper, but this is something to keep an eye on. How will he handle tough moments, and will he be able to remain consistent throughout a grueling season in England? I back him to come through it strongly, but he hasn’t had the chance to prove it yet.
Overall, Alisson is a great signing for the club that sorely needed a stabilizing presence at goalkeeper. It’s an exciting time to be a Liverpool fan. With the signings they’ve made, players they’ve retained, and youth that is coming through the system, this team should be legit contenders in all 4 major competitions in the 2018-2019 season. Alisson will be a major part of their success.
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