If, as looks increasingly likely, Liverpool go on to win their first Premier League title in three decades, all the club’s stars and key players will have done their part, including goalkeeper Alisson, whose name has begun to be mentioned in player of the season chatter.
More than a little credit, though, will need to be sent the way of his backup, Adrian, the Spanish veteran who arrived from West Ham via free agency and was almost immediately pushed into the spotlight when Liverpool’s first choice shot stopper fell injured.
“I felt like a schoolboy who has to introduce himself in front of his new classmates,” Adrian told the BBC. “But what can I say about Anfield? The way the fans embraced me in such a critical moment, losing one of their best players. They gave me total confidence.”
All told, Adrian has played ten Premier League games this season—eight following Alisson’s injury and then two following an early red card for the Brazilian against Brighton. He has won all of them, conceding just nine times while recording two clean sheets.
There have also been a pair of Champions League appearances, two outings in the FA Cup, and one UEFA Super Cup victory over Chelsea in just his second appearance for the Reds and with scarcely more than those first two training sessions under his belt.
Whether or not he makes another league appearance for Liverpool this season, without his strong play in the autumn the Reds aren’t where they are today, undefeated and cruising at the top of the league a full 22 points clear of their nearest rivals.
Whether or not he makes another league appearance for Liverpool this season, just his presence on the bench gives the club and fans confidence that should something happen, their number two in goal is better than the first choice option at many clubs.
“I’d made a drastic decision not to stay any longer at West Ham despite having a three-year contract offer on the table,” the veteran stopper added. “I hadn’t played a single game all season in the Premier League. I didn’t feel valued, to be honest. It was tough for me.
“Summer came and then I felt those butterflies in my stomach. I was already aware of Liverpool’s interest before I received the first offers. They said that they’d sell [Simon] Mignolet if I gave the deal the green light. That’s how it happened.”