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John Achterberg on Alisson Decision: “We Had Nothing To Lose!”

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The Liverpool goalkeeping coach describes that big moment in last weekend’s match.

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Liverpool Training Session Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

What was going through the mind of goalkeeping coach John Achterberg when he gave Alisson the fateful command to run up the pitch?

The Brazilian goalkeeper made Liverpool Football Club history by being the only goalkeeper to ever score a goal for the Reds. It took until pretty much the last touch of the ball for Liverpool to finally find a way out of the deadlock against West Brom at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

That it was Alisson’s touch, one of the best-placed headers I’ve ever seen in my life, was something that no one would have guessed. But then again, the Reds do love drama, so maybe we all should have known that it would be the goalkeeper sprinting across the pitch and rising like a majestic salmon who would possibly save Liverpool’s season.

As for Achterberg, the longtime coach wasn’t thinking about highlight reels or history books. The only thing running through his head at the time was, “we had nothing to lose!”

Speaking to the official site at the AXA Training Centre on Monday, Achterberg described the moment.

“I looked at my watch, 94, and I thought it was going to be the last kick of the game, we needed to win, so I shouted, ‘Get up, get in the box!’ to him! I didn’t see Ali looking to the bench to see if he should go up before I shouted; I just thought we had nothing to lose and we needed to put everything into the box we had,” he said.

“The technique… he is natural in everything he does, playing and heading. It was a great finish.”

We don’t need to be told how he reacted, it’s captured live on video. In case you were sure, though, Achterberg admits, “My reaction was like everyone else’s – jumping around like mad, last minute, winning goal, that’s how it is!”

Last minute goals to clinch three points are always great. The manner in which Liverpool once again achieved that feat was icing on the cake. But by far, the biggest reason to celebrate is that with one swing of his mighty forehead, Alisson Becker has kept Liverpool competitive to land in that all-important fourth spot in the table.