When two brothers grow up in the same family, coming of age brings in a spirit of competitiveness that often turns into feuds. However, things were not like a typical story line of a Hollywood movie where sibling rivalry sheds blood and rips each others world apart. Growing up in Porto Alegre, the Becker brothers Alisson and Muriel always had mutual admiration for each other when it came to their shot stopping credentials.
Belonging from a family of goal keepers, they always had to be the men in between the sticks for their respective sides and their father was their role model. Despite the fact that Alisson and Muriel were competing for the same position they would always encourage each other in training to outshine each other.
But life isn’t a bed of roses and always had its fair share of tests reserved for Alisson as well. As he was coming up the youth ranks of Internacional, Alisson came across the biggest problem that a goal keeper could have – his height. Destiny however, had other plans for the short kid as Internacional decided to give him one last chance with a one year extension. Alisson grabbed his chance and his body finally complimented his shot stopping skills. The ‘shorty’ finally had the perfect height to be a dominating goal keeper. Post this event, it has been all sunshine for the short shot-stopper from Internacional.
2017-18 has probably been the best season Alisson has had in his career till now, the highlight being representing Brazil at the World Cup. From being the 3rd choice reserve keeper at Internacional to the most expensive custodian ever, Alisson Becker has come a long way. While every other club wanted the Roma keeper, he chose Anfield to complete a record deal but what he brings into the squad is the point we ponder on.
Liverpool had to suffer heartbreak on the final step to conquer the holy grail but what was more heartbreaking was that the team lost because of two individual errors from Loris Karius. As Liverpool fans still looked to back the German keeper he again was at the epicentre of their criticism, spilling a free kick that resulted in a goal in a preseason friendly against Chester FC. In the wake of a series of errors, gaffer Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool transfer committee were ready to invest heavily and fix their loopholes, the biggest being acquiring the services of a quality keeper.
Alisson was the first name on their shopping list and Liverpool were ready to pay the hefty price as they signed the Brazilian number one with a record transfer fee of £66.8 million.
While the fee has been making headlines, pundits still believe that Alisson is worth every penny that has been invested on him. With the capability of leading from the back the 25-year-old has always stepped up whenever his team has been in trouble. Like all other leading keepers Alisson’s ball-handling skills have been at the top throughout the last season, be it for Roma or for Brazil.
But what makes Alisson a priced possession is his shot stopping ability by his legs. While most of the goalkeepers have a tendency to concede goals off grounded shots through their legs, Alisson however, is an exception to this trend making a number of brilliant stops and clearances off his feet. Complementing his shot stopping ability, he also has the preparedness going into a set piece, be it a corner or a free kick. From lining up the proper wall to making saves that are simply brilliant his propensity of saving set pieces has landed him into the bracket of the most sought after goal keepers.
With an attack that has been raising eyebrows since the last season and recent additions in the form of Naby Keita and Fabinho slotting in, Alisson was the last piece of jigsaw for Liverpool’s nearly perfect mosaic art. Jurgen Klopp has always been known for bringing out the best out of his players and with a goal keeper of Alisson’s stature, Liverpool and Klopp will surely be looking to roll back their glory days.
Photo by Ben Sutherland