Here are two facts that seem entirely contradictory on their face: 1) Liverpool have one of the world’s very best goalkeepers guarding their net, and 2) nearly a third of the goals the Reds have conceded in the Premier League this year have been the direct result of a goalkeeping error.
If you’ve been paying attention to Liverpool’s season, it’s not at all hard to align these two bits of trivia. Jürgen Klopp’s men have conceded only seven goals in 17 matches, on pace to match Chelsea’s obscene 2004/05 record tally of 15, in part due to Alisson Becker’s performances between the sticks. Thus, the two mistakes made by the Brazilian — a failed dribble at Leicester back in September and the fluffed cross claim against Manchester United at the wekend — occupy a disproportionately large space in the Reds’ goals conceded column.
Two factors decide if a goalkeeper’s mistakes are remembered in the long run: Whether they impacted the results — Liverpool beat both Leicester and Utd — and the stopper’s ratio of incredible saves as a counter balance. Jürgen Klopp has no problem doing the math.
“That goal was absolutely no problem,” the manager said at Tuesday’s press conference.
“Things like this happen. It is much more important to be there in all the other situations. Not in a spectacular way, just catch the balls you can catch.
“These kind of mistakes will always happen for all goalkeepers in the world,” Klopp continued. “He has no problem with that and I have absolutely no problem with that.
“Even if it was a more decisive thing, things like this happen. It is not about the moment, it’s really about all the things – the good things – you can do. The good things you influence on in our game.”
Never mind good things like quick distribution setting in motion goalscoring moves against Fulham and Burnley, Alisson has been absolutely decisive on the catch the balls bit. Whether it’s coming off his line to deny Willian or Eden Hazard in one on ones, plucking Milivojevic free kicks out of the top bin, or saving wins by blocking André Gomes and Arkadiusz Milik from point blank range, Alisson has been a true difference maker for the Reds in 2018.
Keep this up for another six months, and those mistakes will undoubtedly be long forgotten.