One of the most dramatic changes that fans who survived the Hodgepocalypse can see in today’s Liverpool squad is the quality of the players across the starting spots. There are world class players in quite a few positions for Jurgen Klopp to name into his starting side week-to-week and that’s a far cry from the likes of Christian Poulsen or Joe Cole. One such player is Liverpool and Brazilian international, Alisson Becker.
When I came to Liverpool fandom back in the Fall of 2010, Liverpool had Pepe Reina, a club legend and an iconic net minder in his own right. He was, however, on a bit of a downslide and, suffice to say, the club had really struggled to find a keeper that many might consider elite.
That’s not to say there weren’t keepers who passed through that time that weren’t at least competent. But if one is building a squad to challenge for a trophy in every possible competition, finding a keeper who is elite is certainly high on the list of things to grab.
Enter Alisson Becker. The Brazilian net minder has, in his short time with the club, overseen the solidification of a defense that - in concert with center back Virgil Van Dijk - has become one of the stingiest in all of Europe. And given his performances in big matches including, but not limited to, the epic Champions League run that culminated in the Reds grabbing their 6th European Cup, it is no surprise that he’d be rewarded.
Now, he can claim the 2019 Samba Gold prize, awarded to the best Brazilian player in Europe. To claim the award, Becker had to best his teammate and star striker, Roberto Firmino. Becker also becomes the first goalkeeper to ever win the award.
Here’s hoping Alisson can continue to turn in the types of performances that, on the way to Liverpool finally winning a league title in the Premier League era, will lead to him being on the short list for next year’s prize.