Roma’s former goalkeeping coach Roberto Negrisolo has said, that when he met him, he told Alisson that he had the class of someone born to be a goalkeeper. When his price-tag was brought up during a talk with newspaper II Romanista, Negrisolo called Alisson the Messi of goalkeepers, stating, “He’s worth much more. I don’t think many people have realised who Alisson is. This guy is a phenomenon. He is the number one of number ones.”
Great teams are built from the back. January 2018 saw Liverpool break the world transfer record fee for a defender by signing Virgil van Dijk and now they’ve done it again. The signing of Alisson for approximately EUR 72.5 million from AS Roma has ousted a 17-year-old record held by Juventus, who signed Gianluigi Buffon from Parma in 2001 for EUR 52.9 million.
Before he joined Roma in 2016 from Internacional as former Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczęsny’s understudy, he had won the state title – the Campeonato Gaucho – four years running with Inter, had played nine times for the Brazil under-17s since 2009, five times for the under-20s, won the prestigious Toulonne Tournament in 2013, and made his senior debut for the Selecao in October 2015 in a World Cup qualifying match. Two years on, Roma had one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and valued the player at around EUR 69 million in April 2018, with the club co-owner James Pallotta stating that Alisson’s value would only increase as he continued his strong form.
Liverpool has lacked stability in goal since the contentious sale of three-time Premier League Golden Glove winner Pepe Reina. Alisson brings a calming presence to the role and is an all-rounder, a rarity in today’s game, as there is usually a compromise between excelling in one on one situations and commanding the penalty area. Alisson, though, is “the full package” according to Jürgen Klopp and will only get better given his age.
More than that, goalkeeping is in Alisson’s blood as the player comes from a family of goalkeepers. His great grandfather, father, and mother (in handball) having all played in goal, while his brother Muriel started his career as Internacional’s keeper in 2013 and is currently Portuguese side, Belenenses’ number one.
Alisson had 15 clean sheets in 34 games played in Serie A last season, conceding 27 goals and making 92 saves. To put that into perspective, last season’s Premier League Golden Glove winner, Manchester United’s David de Gea had 14 clean sheets in 36 games while also conceding 27 goals and made 90 saves. Alisson also had five clean sheets in 11 Champions League games and made 31 saves. Only Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid had a higher save success rate with 85.8%, with Alisson coming in second at 80.1%, followed by de Gea with 79.9%.
In his first official LFC interview, Alisson shared what qualities he would be bringing to the team, saying:
I’m a calm goalkeeper and above all I’ve got a real desire to win. When I get on the pitch I give everything for the team, everything for the shirt. Fans and players can expect a lot of dedication from me on the pitch and in day-to-day training. I look to work on all aspects of my game, always aiming for perfection and looking to improve every day. I’m quick to come off my line. I’m an agile ‘keeper; despite being tall, I’ve got very good agility and strength in my legs. With the ball at my feet, I like to get involved in the play. I think my style of play will fit in very well with Klopp’s style. I look forward to knowing what he expects of me, to define my style here at Liverpool.
He also had a promise for the Liverpool collective fan base:
Rest assured, I’ll give everything on the pitch. I’ll bring them a lot of joy. I hope for their support and I hope to meet their expectations of me.
It’s been a long time coming, but the intent from those at the helm of LFC is clear. Our manager has lured top players to our pitch simply by being Jürgen and the owners, Fenway Sports Group have kept their word and thus, I dare say, that with the business we have done this summer transfer window, our expectations may finally turn into reality this coming season.
Welcome to Liverpool, Alisson. Y.N.W.A.