A positive Covid-19 test in the Brazil squad sparked fears that the Reds could be affected, but all is currently well for our Selecao contingent who are preparing for World Cup qualifiers.
Gabriel Menino tested positive for coronavirus in the results coming back from Wednesday’s round of examinations, with the likes of Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino in his training group.
That sparked worries that they – or in the wider Premier League context Alex Telles, Ederson and Thiago Silva – could in turn be affected or need to quarantine, but the Brazil national team medical department has moved to quell those fears.
Squad doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed that “all other players in the group tested negative” and that all the usual protective measures were being taken to isolate the affected player.
Brazil will face Venezuela in the early hours of Saturday morning by UK time, with a 12:30 am (GMT) kick-off, with the next round of testing set to take place after that World Cup qualifier.
On Sunday or Monday the entire squad will get their next test, which will determine eligibility for the second qualifier, against Uruguay, with a final round of tests after that game before the players return to their clubs.
While our regular duo are likely to play a big role in the two qualifiers, Fabinho is back on Merseyside recovering from injury. Jurgen Klopp recently made a few headlines when he noted that Tite doesn’t play the defensive midfielder too often, and Alisson says the boss is in the best position to have an opinion on the matter since he works with him every day.
For Ali, our No. 3 is a critical part of the team – both for the Reds and on the international stage.
“If there is anyone who can talk about [Fabinho] specifically, it is Klopp,” Alisson told Globo Esporte. I believe that Fabinho is a most important player for both the club and the national team, this is my opinion, he is a very important player wherever he is, he always proves his worth on the pitch.
“He has been playing for [Virgil] van Dijk and, unfortunately, with his injury we miss him too. He can play in the centre, as a defender, he was a full-back in the past and these characteristics bring even more value to him.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Alisson went on to discuss his relationship with the goalkeepers and coaches at Fluminense – where his brother plays and the Reds signed Marcelo Pitaluga from recently – as well as how he spent time during lockdown, his status as national team first-choice and his hopes for the future.
Alisson acknowledged that at some stage he’ll move back to Brazil to wrap up his carer – but he has no intention of doing so any time soon and could even play past the age of 40 if all goes well.
While winning silverware is important, the ‘keeper notes that it’s simply his love of the game and his surroundings which drives him to perform at the highest level game in and game out, including a real affection for the Reds.
“The same thing that moved me before winning those titles. I’ve never been moved by titles [alone]. Obviously, we have the ambition to win, win titles, win individual awards. But that’s not what moves me, but my work, what I love to do.
“I love football, I love playing football, I love being a goalkeeper, playing for Liverpool, for the Brazilian team. That’s what moves me, the passion.”
“I never went to make many long-term plans. Of course, I had dreams, but always with my feet on the ground and very focused on what I have in hand, what I can do now in the present.
“I have plans to make a long career in football, to play as much as I can at a high level. Now if it will be up to 35, 40 or more than 40 I don’t know, I have a lot of time to go. I hope to do my best while in the national team and in Europe.
“I have the desire to return to Brazil, but when it will happen, only God knows…I am living in the present for now.”
At only 28 years of age and with another three-and-a-half years left on his current contract, it wouldn’t be any kind of surprise to see Ali sign a long-term extension over the next 18 months.
He’s an elite goalkeeper who is maturing with experience and he can comfortably play at this peak for many years yet. The Reds are certainly planning succession possibilities, with a number of young goalkeepers at the club, but he’s the undisputed No.1 and that isn’t likely to change soon.
We’ll have you for as long as you want, Ali!