One Year On: The Game Where Alisson Showed His Worth
Liverpool is a club synonymous with historical nights in European football and this week we looked back on the first anniversary of arguably one of the greatest of those we’ll ever see.
Somehow the Reds overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit against Barcelona to make it to their second successive Champion League final after a 4-0 victory.
While it’s hard not to think of the contributions of the likes of super sub Gini Wijnaldum, Trent’s quick thinking for the corner that led to Divock Origi securing his place in Kop cult history, there’s one man who that night cemented place as a modern great at the club.
Since his £66.8 million move from Roma, he’s been nothing but impressive and has played a huge role in helping to transform Liverpool not only defensively, but in an attacking sense too.
And on that fateful night against Barca, he proved his worth.
The stakes couldn’t have been higher. After Origi struck early to send hope rippling around Anfield, Barcelona had their chances and Alisson helped keep Liverpool in the game.
A matter of minutes after the first goal, he made a huge save to deny Lionel Messi. The Argentine wizard pinged a fierce effort destined for the top corner, but Alisson stood firm.
Then moments after that, he made a big save to deny Coutinho a goal on his Anfield return. He kept his shot at bay, but the impressive thing was how he turned it away from danger and the onrushing Luis Suarez.
Had he just parried the shot back into danger, Suarez would have surely scored, leaving Liverpool with an even steeper mountain to climb once more.
And on the stroke of half time, when his defenders switched off momentarily, Alisson came rushing from his goal to swat away Jordi Alba’s attempt to ensure Liverpool went into the break still in with a fighting chance.
This was followed by two further one-on-one saves from Suarez and Messi while the game was still in the balance which helped the Reds go on to complete an historic comeback.
While it is often easy to look at games in isolation and heap praise on a player, this is not a rarity from the Brazilian shot-stopper.
There have been several instances where Liverpool haven’t necessarily been bailed out by his influence, but he’s helped keep the ship steady and give the team a base to go forward and build on.
But this night against the Catalonians proved his mettle on the biggest of stages, and then he went on to put in another great showing to help guide Klopp’s men to glory in the Madrid final.
To stand up and be counted when his team needed him most was brilliant, and to make the saves he did against the calibre of forwards that were bearing down on him was the stuff of world class keepers.
He kept the defence well marshalled with van Dijk and ensured there was no let up in the intensity from the back.
And now he’s here, it’s hard to imagine what it was like without him in the side, and the confidence we had that night of being able to keep Barca at bay wouldn’t have been as astute with the likes of Mignolet or Karius in goal.
He’s the keeper that Liverpool have been missing for so long, and long may his Anfield stay continue.
Look back on that 4-0 win against Messi and company to see just how big his impact has been in years to come and you’ll realise just how good we’ve got it right now.