Jurgen Klopp’s record-breaking summer recruit, Alisson, helped his side to a big win in the Merseyside derby with two crucial saves to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City, making him Maryam Naz’s pick for The Offside Rule player of the week.
Worth every penny
The 26-year-old kept his ninth clean sheet of the season against the Toffees this weekend, after conceding in Liverpool’s midweek Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain. Despite finishing on the losing side, he held off players such as Neymar and Edinson Cavani from running riot at the Parc des Princes.
Alisson continued this stellar form on Sunday, first stopping a rampaging Theo Walcott on the counter, and then Andre Gomes’ header from point-blank range. His presence has fortified Liverpool’s defence and kept them within reach of Pep Guardiola’s men, making a record-breaking price-tag of £67m worth every penny.
Smart between the sticks
In a week rife with goalkeeping errors, Alisson’s decision-making between the sticks has inspired confidence in and around the back four. The Brazilian appeared calm and collected amidst the high-octane frivolities of a Merseyside derby with a well-rounded display.
He used his physicality to make vital blocks but also remained in-tune with the movement of his attacking teammates, smartly distributing to help the counterattack. Such intelligence and spatial awareness suggests the Liverpool keeper is capable of becoming the best in the business under Klopp.
The Brazilian has been hailed as “a keeper who thinks like a striker” by former Brazil boss Carlos Dunga and his performance against Marco Silva’s men proved exactly that. His anticipation of where the ball was arriving from was akin to that of Mohamed Salah’s movement in front of goal.
On several occasions, Alisson opened up his body to play the ball. With attacking qualities now a necessary attribute in a modern goalkeeper, his forward thinking could be the key to kicking this Liverpool attack into fifth gear.
Alisson may have impressed the most this week, but one other player deserves mention. Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling helped secure three points for his team with a brilliant individual goal against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
Follow Maryam on Twitter @MNaz98