Jack Hallows believes Liverpool should most definitely be signing a new number one this summer but which of Klopp’s targets best fits the mould?
Even before Loris Karius had a clanger of a Champions League final I was of the belief that Liverpool should be signing a new goalkeeper this summer.
Simon Mignolet has never been good enough for a Champions League club and will be moved on in the summer while Adam Bogdan and Danny Ward’s continued absences from match-day squads tells you all you need to know about their place in Jürgen Klopp’s plans.
That leaves Karius who, despite his poor showing in the Champions League final, is likely to remain at the club next season and while a number of fans think otherwise, he’s definitely good enough to stick around as a back-up to a higher quality number one.
So, who should Liverpool be bringing to the club?
Numerous different stoppers have been mentioned but mid-tier names such as Jack Butland of Stoke and Jasper Cillessen of Barcelona should be avoided simply because they don’t represent a significant upgrade on what’s already at the club.
If the Reds are going to spend big money on a keeper, then the player they bring in simply must represent an upgrade on the personnel currently available.
Look at the other areas Klopp’s previously bolstered.
Virgil van Dijk cost £75m but represented a major upgrade on every central defender at the club while Naby Keïta and Fabinho cost a combined £95m but both are a serious injection of quality into a problem area in Klopp’s squad. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané have also been brought in over the last two summers, bringing a much needed increase in goals, assists and explosiveness.
The pair are widely regarded as the best goalkeeping duo in the world behind the usual suspects like David De Gea, Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen. Both would see the club forced to smash the previous record fee paid for a goalkeeper but with the man between the sticks such an important position in the modern game, is that really an issue?
While both would represent an astronomical upgrade on Karius, Mignolet, Ward and Bogdan, I personally have a preference for Brazil number one Alisson Becker.
Alisson would potentially cost more than Atletico Madrid’s Oblak and having played only one full season for AS Roma compared to the Slovenian’s three for Atletico, he could represent more of a risky move for the Reds. That said, the lad looks top class and given his ability to sweep, would probably fit Klopp’s style of play better than Oblak.
What impresses me the most about Alisson is the confidence and speed with which he does absolutely everything.
When he attempts to make a save you can see on his face that he always believes he will save it unless it’s an absolutely un-saveable strike – such as Mohamed Salah’s belter of a finish at Anfield. His short-range shot-stopping is also nothing short of incredible with his reaction times and reflexes rivalled by very few goalkeepers in world football.
Alisson also averaged 3.1 saves per game over the course of Roma’s Serie A and Champions League campaigns, with his interventions often the primary reason behind the Italian side’s best results of the campaign.
When he comes off his line for a ball, he believes every time that he will get there first and he will win it. Even when just keeping possession, he knows where he wants to put the ball and nine times out of ten, that’s exactly where it’s going.
To reinforce just how good a footballer the Brazilian is, for a goalkeeper to have a season-long pass success rate of 80% is genuinely incredible.
Of the other aforementioned world-class stoppers, only ter Stegen comes close, with the German boasting a success rate of 79%. Other household names such as Jan Oblak (51%), David De Gea (57%) and Hugo Lloris (70%) however, fall far behind.
While previously goalkeepers were judged simply on their ability to prevent the ball ending up in their net, in the modern game, other skills are coveted just as highly.
Ederson of Manchester City was signed by Guardiola last season just as much for his passing range, speed off his line and confidence with the ball at his feet as he was for his ability to catch and save a football.
With Liverpool’s style of play a hybrid of Guardiola’s total football and quick counter-attacking, heavy-metal chaos, having a goalkeeper like Alisson who can allow a high-line to be maintained, come out and deal with balls over the top and start counter-attacks with impressive ball playing skills would be highly beneficial.
Don’t get me wrong here, Jan Oblak is a phenomenal goalkeeper and if we were looking simply at shot-stopping alone, the Slovenian ranks right up there with the likes of De Gea and Neuer – he’s genuinely freakish.
With Klopp looking for a particular profile in all his outfield players however, one can’t help but notice how much the German covets confidence with the ball at feet and the ability to pick an impressive pass. Even van Dijk was signed just as much for his passing ability as he was his defending.
With all that in mind, Liverpool should absolutely be breaking the bank to bring Alisson Becker to Merseyside this season. As we’ve unfortunately learned over the last couple of seasons, a top-quality goalkeeper can make all the difference when vying for trophies, titles and everything in between.
Who do you think the Reds should be signing this summer? Let us know below!