In the early hours of Wednesday morning, with Brazil one goal ahead of arch-rivals Argentina, Alisson Becker rose high to his right to pluck a Lionel Messi free-kick straight out of the sky.
Alisson didn’t dive to make it look any more spectacular than it needed to be. He simply ambled his away across the goal-line before catching, and holding, Messi’s shot comfortably. Alisson had learned from Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Camp Nou in April that Messi likes to stick those free-kicks in the goalkeeper’s top right-hand corner.
Brazil went on to win 2-0, booking their place in Sunday’s Copa America final against either Chile or Peru.
Alisson’s clean sheet against Argentina means he has now gone nine straight games without conceding a goal. Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Newcastle on May 4th was the last day Alisson had to pick the ball out of his net (Salomon Rondon was the scorer of Newcastle’ second goal that day).
Thanks to his shutout against Argentina, Alisson has already won the Copa America Golden Glove award (5 clean sheets/5 games), even with a game still left to play. He added that to his Champions League Golden Glove (6 clean sheets/13 games) and his Premier League Golden Glove (21 clean sheets/38 games) awards. In fact, Alisson’s clean sheet in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Spurs was the first in a Champions League final since 2010.
Many would argue that Virgil van Dijk’s presence helps Alisson immensely for Liverpool, and this is correct, but the Brazilian stopper was called upon many times last season and, far more often than not, he came up with the goods.
There are many examples but possibly the most memorable save was when Alisson denied Napoli’s Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik in the dying moments of Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Anfield. That victory ensured The Reds qualified from the group and would go on to win their sixth European Cup trophy.
What’s possibly one of Alisson’s most impressive traits is that he can be focused enough to pull off big saves when he has had an otherwise quiet game with not much to do – a characteristic which is vital for any goalkeeper of a top club.
Having only signed for Liverpool 12 months ago, Alisson already looks like he has developed his game behind a solid defence under Jurgen Klopp. He seems to have carried his impressive form onto the international stage with Brazil as well.
Other names such as Jan Oblak and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are discussed in the best goalkeeper in the world argument but Alisson can certainly stake a serious claim for that mantle on his current level of performance.