It’s no secret that Liverpool rely on the brilliance of Alisson as the foundation of the team, but there’s more to his game than great saves and quick throws.
Long hours on the training pitch, repetition of moves and an understanding of the game all go into making the Brazilian No. 1 arguably the best goalkeeper in the world today.
But even beyond his natural athletic ability and his constant training at shot-stopping is his rock-solid mindset and the mentality to stay cool amid the “chaos” in his penalty area.
That’s according to one of the men who should know best: Liverpool’s assistant goalkeeper coach, Jack Robinson, who walked LiverpoolFC.com through the training drills which mimic match-day encounters and explained why Ali is the perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp‘s team.
Robinson explained the match-ups that the team make in training, between practicing true-to-life in-game scenarios and Alisson‘s mental strength to ensure he gets the same outcome when the whistle goes.
That allows ‘keepers to make “natural decisions” when facing strikers, whether it’s in one-on-one situations or claiming crosses in a crowded box.
Ali is renowned for being just as good with his feet as he is with his hands, too, with his clever footwork and accurate passing often being catalysts for Liverpool attacks or retaining possession.
“He’s like Pirlo or someone like that [in five-a-side]!” Robinson said.
“He’s really comfortable on the ball and wants to receive it under pressure. Like you see in the games, that nerve strength, that calmness, he’s able to play when there’s chaos all around him.”
Over and over in explaining different goalkeeping characteristics and training practices—shot-stopping, playing out from the back, staying alert when the team is dominating—Robinson continually refers back to an over-arching theme: Alisson is the best because of his mindset.
Alisson‘s ability to read the game is indispensable, while his communication with the defence and understanding of how a move will play out make him a formidable barrier even before the opposing team can think about getting a shot away.
“[It] comes down to the character of the goalkeeper. A lot of the work that we do as a team is about being in the right position and to get the focus on that.
“Being in the right position then allows you to make the right decision if the ball is played over the top. Having that concentration is down to your character.”
The Brazilian has constantly proven his ability over the last couple of years with the Reds, with only injury depriving him of even more clean sheets and appearances this season.
Even so, he’s sure to end 2019/20 with a Premier League winner’s medal and is once more in the running for the Golden Gloves award, despite playing fewer games.
Alisson didn’t take long at all to join a growing list at Liverpool: an expensive signing who was an absolute bargain.