John Achterberg has not always been a popular figure among Liverpool fans, but Reds goalkeeper Alisson Becker has praised the influence of his new coach.
After a succession of goalkeepers have failed to improve significantly or maintain consistent form at Anfield, it’s inevitable that questions would be asked of why.
Despite no real insight into what goes on at Melwood, many have suggested that ‘keeper coach Achterberg might not be up to scratch, but he has always been retained by managers since arriving in 2009 and promoted to coach the seniors in 2011.
Alisson, signed from AS Roma in the summer, has made an immediate impression as an elite goalkeeper—and now he has hailed his relationship with Achterberg and the Reds’ other stoppers.
“John has proved to be not just a great goalkeeping coach but a great guy, a great person. Since I arrived I’ve noticed he’s loved by all here.
“He leaves me very calm and relaxed on a day-to-day basis and we learn from each other’s work.
“I’ve pointed out some areas that contribute to his work and likewise he has helped me with things I can improve in on the pitch.
“I believe the relationship between a goalkeeper and the goalkeeping coach needs to be an exchange, with a great deal of trust, and we have been developing this as a team, training together, and I’m getting on great with the other ‘keepers.”
While Alisson wears the No. 13 shirt, he is the undisputed No. 1 at Anfield these days. Loris Karius has departed, perhaps for good, but Simon Mignolet remains as backup and two impressive youth prospects made names for themselves over pre-season.
“Kamil [Grabara] and Caoimhin [Kelleher] are players with great potential. I learn from them on the pitch as well,” continued Alisson.
“And of course there’s Simon, who has been at Liverpool a long time and a long time in the Premier League. He has been helping me a great deal in the day-to-day training and in games.
“They have all shown themselves to be great guys, great people.”
The goalkeeping community is a notoriously close-knit one, despite the intense competition and small possibility of rotation for game time.
It bodes well that they get on as a group, but more importantly, it should be refreshing and pleasing for fans to hear that such a top-quality goalkeeper is happy and satisfied that he is receiving the support and expertise he expects on the coaching ground.
All four are on international duty this week: Alisson with Brazil, Mignolet with Belgium, Kelleher hoping to make his senior debut for Ireland and Grabara with Poland U21s.