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Alisson Praises Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips Following Comfortable Victory

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The Liverpool goalkeeper praised the two unheralded defenders for stepping up when needed.

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Atalanta BC v Liverpool FC: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

After a few weeks of close results, nervous moments, and worries about form and fitness and potentially season-defining injuries, Liverpool put in a vintage performance and earned convincing victory against Atalanta on Tuesday evening.

A pile of goals in attack and a clean sheet at the back added up to a 5-0 victory that puts them clear on top of their group, and if the fans were feeling relieved afterwards, it sounds like goalkeeper Alisson Becker was as well—at least a little.

“We have had tough matches that we have played against tough opponents that make our job really difficult on the pitch,” he said. “Tonight, it wasn’t different but from the way we play it was better the way they tried to defend against us.

“We had more space on the pitch but because we worked harder we created more spaces and we were calm enough to keep the ball to prepare the situations. Obviously when we had the chances we scored and then we kept the clean sheet.”

As for keeping that clean sheet, while few doubt this side’s attacking prowess, with Virgil van Dijk ruled out for the season along with recent injuries to Fabinho and Joël Matip it’s in the defensive end where there’s been some cause for concern.

And while Alisson was called on to help out his teammates on occasion last night, the defence was generally strong—as it has been in recent games even while counting on unexpected contributions from Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.

“We are not a team of only one player,” Alisson added. “The last weeks have been difficult because we have lost some important players, but we have many coming back as well. Joel was here as well and he is a player we need. We need everybody fit.

“Rhys is a good lad. He is always asking me to speak with him and talk with him. He works hard and this helped him a lot. Nat, I’m really happy for the way he played on Saturday. It was difficult because he has gone a long time without playing.

“He grabbed it with both hands and did really well and I’m happy for him, happy for the team with what we have in front of us. We have a big challenge now, but I’m really happy with what we are doing on the pitch.”