The obvious usual suspects come to mind when you look at the best players of the Jurgen Klopp era. You have the blistering pace of Sadio Mane. The tricks, flicks, and flair of Bobby Firmino are unmistakable. Mo Salah’s goal-scoring prowess is unmatched. Virgil van Dijk brought a defensive swagger to the club. All have made their mark in Liverpool’s most successful period of the modern era. Obviously, I deliberately left our big Brazilian for last, Alisson Becker.
What a man, what a goalkeeper. If we’re talking about a player’s pure importance and impact in this era, then it’s probably a coin toss between Salah and Alisson. The latter and his shot-stopping have been just as important as the big goals our Egyptian King has scored throughout the years in my opinion.
A Surprising Snub For Alisson
A key reason why I decided on this Alisson appreciation article is the Brazilian’s, frankly, ludicrous snub for this year’s Yashin trophy. Former Ballon d’Or winners didn’t even nominate our keeper for the shortlist. There is certainly a mixed opinion on the award’s importance. Nevertheless, it is one of the few avenues in which a goalkeeper can get the recognition they deserve.
Obviously, team success is factored into the criteria of the award. Many of the stoppers nominated for 2023 had superior seasons in terms of club performance. But from a purely individual standpoint, there is certainly no one who outperformed Alisson. He prevented a ridiculous 10.1 goals more than average in addition to winning LFC’s Player of the Season award. Frankly, the numbers and eye test don’t lie. That makes the omission even more mind-boggling.
Starting Off Strong…Again
Liverpool’s strong start to the 2023-24 campaign once again has Alisson among the names of those most responsible. Four wins and a draw in the first five matches is a considerable improvement over last year’s shaky beginning.
The crown jewel of those four victories was away to Newcastle. Our #1 picked up where he left off. A stunning save from a close-range Miguel Almiron volley netted our man the Save of the Month award from the Premier League. That stop was worth its weight in gold in earning the club three points when everything seemed staunchly against our Redmen.
A solitary clean sheet in five matches can obviously be improved on. However, a shifting backline with Virgil van Dijk’s suspension and injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate was always going to provide challenges. It’s safe to say that Alisson performed extremely well despite these setbacks.
A Deserved Increase
A recent report stated that due to his performances last season, a clause was triggered in Alisson’s contract that’s set to make him one of the highest earners at the club alongside Salah and van Dijk. This is more than deserved for a man who should have already been among our best-paid players.
Nitpicking aside, this gives us an insight into the merit-based nature of some Liverpool contracts. It’s great that Ali is getting what he deserves on a monetary front. We Liverpool fans already know how massive our Number One is in terms of our chances for success this campaign. If football as a whole doesn’t appreciate his greatness, then it’s their loss.
We as supporters are comfortable knowing that we’ve got arguably the greatest goalkeeper in our history between the sticks. His presence will ensure that we’re challenging for the biggest trophies year after year. Long may it continue!