If you asked people who the most important player to Liverpool’s title challenge was, most would probably go for either Virgil van Dijk or Mohamed Salah. The defender anchoring the stingiest defence in the league and the forward leading the team in scoring.
James Milner, though, would go for a third option. He’d pick goalkeeper Alisson as the club’s most important player—and given the Brazilian is outperforming expected goals against by nearly 7.5 in the league this season, Milner might have a good case.
“It’s hard to pick out one player because everyone in the squad has done so well, not just the 11 who are starting,” said Liverpool’s vice-captain. “I think maybe one you could select is Alisson. Coming to a new league is never easy, but he’s been unbelievable.
“From how he is around the place, to how good he is on the pitch with his feet, and with the saves he makes. If he makes a mistake it doesn’t faze him in the slightest and he remains confident and continues playing as if nothing has happened. That’s so important.”
Liverpool’s defensive improvement has relied on Van Dijk, and it’s relied on Andy Robertson, and it’s relied on Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren. But if Alisson was putting up the numbers of a “normal” goalkeeper, they’d nearly be very good.
Alisson, though, has excelled. And so instead of being one of Europe’s best defences in the top four leagues—as they would be if Alisson was stopping shots at the rate David de Gea and Ederson are—Liverpool have the best defensive record, full stop.
“He’s been unbelievable for us this season so far,” Milner added. “And I believe that he’ll be a massive, massive player for us going forward.”