Alisson in focus: Liverpool keeper saves champions’ blushes
Amarachi Orie takes an in-depth look at the goalie’s heroics in the Reds’ goalless title clash with Manchester United at Anfield.
While the game between Liverpool and Manchester United ended in stalemate, Reds keeper Alisson Becker won the acclaim. Rival manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised the “two brilliant saves” late on that denied his Premier League leaders a statement victory over the champions. The title clash may have failed to live up to its billing but Alisson again showed his worth as he maintained their four-year unbeaten run at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s team began the game on the front foot, with Thiago Alcantara being their key driving force. Although United got going late in the half, Marcus Rashford fell foul of the offside trap five times in the match – the most any player has been flagged in the league this season. In the 38th minute, Paul Pogba fed a long ball over the Liverpool defenders to a hasty Rashford. While he looked to be in a potentially offside position, VAR had no need to check since Alisson read the threat well, coming out of the penalty area to high knee the ball away from the England striker. That set the tone for the rest of the match.
In the second half, United were putting pressure on their rivals but they were not allowed to do more than that. An adamant Bruno Fernandes kept Fabinho busy and when Fabinho was not there to prevent him getting an accurate shot on goal, Alisson was. The keeper comfortably saved a shot that came in from outside the 18-yard box in the 65th minute and moments later repeated his first-half save, coming out of his area to kick the ball away from Fernandes before he could get another chance at goal. His sharpness kept Liverpool in the game.
Ten minutes later, he would do it again, using his left foot to push away a close-range shot from none other than Fernandes. The last 15 minutes were undoubtedly the most frantic for the Brazil keeper. Pogba, who scored a late winner for United against Burnley earlier in the week, wanted to do the same again. However, his right-footed blast was smothered by the alert keeper who continued to frustrate the United forwards. A corner kick followed but, again, Alisson was the most alert player in the box.
United remain top of the table but they need to work on their finishing or their time there will be short-lived. Just like the hosts, they were reliant on their defenders to see them through the game. Liverpool have not scored in their last three league matches but at least they did not concede this time. Thiago can get the ball to the strikers but he cannot make them score. This is a team missing their supporters and Diogo Jota but, with Alisson instrumental in keeping the leaders at bay, the Reds can rely on their keeper in the matches to come.
Follow Amarachi on Twitter @iamarachii
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