While many Liverpool players fell short of their best in 2022/23, Alisson was again a colossus, showing why no goalkeeper in the world is fit to lace his boots.
The Brazilian was immaculate last term, as the Reds came so close to winning the quadruple, performing with unerring consistency between the sticks.
Started: 47 (All competitions)
On as a substitute: 0
Unused sub: 1
Overall Season Rating: 9
Liverpool’s Player of the Year
For much of Klopp’s reign, picking out a standout player each year has been extremely tough, with so many strong contenders.
And so on.
Even before the final whistle blew at Southampton, however, there really was no dispute over who Liverpool’s Player of the Year had been.
Alisson has almost felt like a one-man defence, such is the manner in which the Reds have been opened up at will, with the 30-year-old thwarting opponents time and time again.
Frankly, you fear where Liverpool would have finished without him – to quote Klopp early in May, “if we are not in a great shape and the level of the goalie drops as well then we would have been completely lost.”
Rival fans will get all nostalgic about Schmeichel, Seaman, Cech, Van der Sar etc, but they’re not close to his all-round level.
Yes, he’s won fewer trophies than some – who cares? Phil Neville won loads of titles!
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) February 20, 2023
While so many others have floundered, including some of those mentioned above, Alisson has retained his world-class level, whether it be his decision-making, calmness or one-on-one ability.
He started 37 of his side’s 38 Premier League matches – the only game he sat out was at Southampton, and Caoimhin Kelleher conceded four goals – and at times almost single-handedly kept Liverpool in with a fighting chance of top four.
What has made Alisson so special?
There are occasions when it’s easy to take Alisson for granted, such is his unspectacular nature as a goalkeeper.
In last season’s review, we touched upon the fact that he is never one to dive for the cameras and scream for the fans, such as Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale, and that has been no different this time around.
Everything about him is unruffled, and as touched upon, he has stood tall behind a defence that has creaked throughout the campaign.
Which is more than any other goalkeeper.
Fulham‘s Bernd Leno (+9) is the only player who is remotely close to matching him – for further context, Kepa Arrizabalaga and David Raya, of Chelsea and Brentford respectively, were in joint-third place with a tally of +5.
By comparison, only six out of 39 goalkeepers performed worse against their opponents’ xG than Man City‘s Ederson (-4.8)
This is made all the more impressive by the fact that Alisson tops the pile across Europe’s top five leagues, too, with Leno behind him in second place and Girona’s Paulo Gazzaniga (+8.8) completing the top three.
Has Alisson been absolutely perfect? No. But no goalkeeper is.
There have been a few errors thrown in, most notably passing the ball straight to Vinicius Jr in the galling 5-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, and doing similar against Wolves in the FA Cup.
But the positives have outweighed the negatives by an enormous amount, with big opportunities chewed up, superb pieces of distribution helping launch counter-attacks and a feeling of calm surrounding him, amid the madness.
The true greats of the game make everything look effortlessly simple, and few make goalkeeping look like an easier task than Alisson.
What next? Time to do it again!
While 30 can be a milestone age for outfield players, with many considering it the start of a decline, it remains the absolute peak for many goalkeepers.
For that reason, Liverpool have a player in Alisson who has never been better, and who shouldn’t really drop off for the foreseeable future.
There may be question marks about the likes of Van Dijk and Salah, for example, and whether they may begin to slide – some may argue they already have – but their near-perfect Brazilian between the sticks is a very different animal.
With that in mind, it could be time for Kelleher to enjoy a new challenge, with regular starts not coming his way at Anfield.
Alisson will go into next season as one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet, and in order for Liverpool to get back to their past levels, they need him at his very best.
At this point, he is surely the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the club, even though Ray Clemence was special in his own right and racked up more trophies.
Our No. 1 is a phenomenon.
Best moment: An inch-perfect assist to Salah in the 1-0 win over Man City.
Worst moment: Passing the ball straight into Vinicius against Real Madrid.
Role next season: Undisputed key man.