Alisson has revealed Pep Guardiola’s influence on his ball-playing style of goalkeeping, explaining that he “worked a lot on it” when he was a young player.
It was considered a transformative signing for Liverpool, and in the years since Alisson arrived from Roma, he has helped take Jurgen Klopp‘s side to the next level.
When Klopp arrived, his first-choice goalkeeper was Simon Mignolet, with Loris Karius then brought on – both of whom struggled on the ball, sharing embarrassing incidents of somehow conceding corners.
But in Alisson, the Reds have a supreme ball-playing sweeper-keeper, who is outstanding on his line and in the air, with the Brazilian tied with Ederson on 16 Premier League clean sheets so far this season.
Ederson (88.7%) is the only goalkeeper in the top flight with a higher passing accuracy than Alisson (85.3%), too, which highlights the pair as the new gold standard.
And speaking to Liverpool’s official website, the Reds’ No. 1 has detailed how Ederson’s manager at Man City, Guardiola, was one of the inspirations behind developing his ball-playing ability as a youngster.
“I have the skills that are needed but I worked a lot on it when I was playing for my youth team,” Alisson said.
“I had a manager once who loved the Guardiola team from Barcelona which used the goalkeeper a lot, so he tried to do that with his team in the U20s and it helped me a lot.
“Then I went to Rome and improved a little bit, but here at Liverpool is the place that I feel most comfortable.
“Because the players really want me to be an extra player on the pitch.”
Guardiola’s Barcelona are undoubtedly a tactical touchstone for the modern era, and the use of Victor Valdes as a regular outlet in possession will no doubt have inspired countless managers.
But as Alisson continued, he noted that the backing of his team-mates in front of him is crucial to this on-ball approach working.
“I think the big thing is having confidence. You get confidence from doing things, from playing,” he added.
“You need to have a team which likes to play with the goalkeeper as well and you need to have a manager who gives you the freedom to play because you can be good [for the team].
“But if your players turn their back to you when you have the ball, you can only kick long balls and work like that.”
No Premier League No. 1 completes more short passes per 90 minutes than Alisson (23.7), who rarely opts for the long pass unless it is to create an opportunity either on the break or by switching play to the flanks.
And while Klopp and Guardiola are now title rivals, the Liverpool manager certainly owes a small debt to his Man City counterpart for fuelling Alisson‘s game.