Reds sign Alisson Becker – will big money make a difference?
Alisson Becker has been a target for premier league clubs for the entire summer transfer window and the Brazilian stopper had been strongly linked to a transfer to Chelsea among other clubs. AS Roma seemed unwilling to let go of their first-choice keeper but it seems like his former Roma teammate Mohammed Salah has persuaded him to decide otherwise. Even though AS Roma was adamant to retain Becker while all the other European clubs were trying to poach him, what suddenly made the Serie A club to decide otherwise and allow him to head for Anfield? And was it right for the Merseysiders to make a splurge of such proportions behind e stopper in this transfer window?
Liverpool’s world record fee
The decision to sell Alisson has raised questions about A.S. Roma’s lack of ambition but the Director of Football at A.S. Roma, Monchi, admitted that the hefty sum Liverpool offered was too good to turn down. Liverpool offered to pay a whopping 72.5 million euros and this makes Alisson the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. This beats the previous record of 53 million euros paid by Juventus for Gianluigi Buffon back in 2001 and the 40 million Manchester City forked out for Allison’s compatriot Ederson to sign him from the Portuguese outfit Benfica last year. “When a very substantial offer comes in you have to consider it,” said Monchi, when explaining Roma’s decision to sell the goalkeeper. “We weighed up the pros and cons and decided to speak to Liverpool.” Alisson will also become one of the highest earners at the Merseyside outfit with a salary of around £5 million a-year.
Liverpool desperate to end the trophy drought
Desperate or not, almost everyone in the footballing community has called out for Loris Karius to be replaced since his 2018 Champion’s League final debacle against Real Madrid. Even though Karius entered Liverpool after being named of Bundesliga’s top keepers, his two years in the English game has been error ridden. In a domestic league as competitive as the Premier League, it is almost impossible to win titles without consistent world class performance between the sticks. That much has been obvious from the way David de Gea single handedly kept winning matches with Manchester United like and has arguably been United’s best player in the past couple seasons. Karius however has failed to deliver in that department. Pepe Reina’s saves in the 2012 League Cup final and the 2006 FA Cup final proved pivotal for the Red’s when they won both trophies via the dreaded penalty shootout. But The 25-year-old’s unconvincing performances left Klopp deliberating between Simon Mignolet or Karius.
Klopp eager to learn from past mistakes
A flashback to the 2016 Europa League final would probably remind most that their then left back Alberto Moreno’s blunders cost them the chance to play in Europe’s premier competition. Daniel Sturridge’s curling strike put Liverpool in front and they seemed set to qualify but Moreno made two crucial blunders which let Sevilla bag the game 3-1 and qualify instead. Many expected that to be the Spaniard’s last game in a Liverpool shirt. Klopp, however, remained adamant that he should be the Reds’ first choice left back and would improve under his influence. That, unsurprisingly, did not happen, as James Milner became the main left-back for the 2016/17 season. One would suspect that Klopp would not like to make the same mistakes he made in his first full season at Anfield.
Bringing the Reds’ defense up to the mark
It is undeniable Borussia Dortmund has worked wonders during his time at Anfield and has transformed the Reds from a mere top 8 club to possible title challengers. But even though he has turned his attacking lineup into one of the most dynamic one in the Premier League, their defense has not been performing at the same level. Finishing fourth after conceding 38 goals in as many matches, even after signing Virgil van Dijk for a world-record £75 million in December was a clear display of room for improvement. Alisson on the other hand has made 66 saves from shots inside the penalty area in Serie A in 2017/18 season and 46 saves in the 2017/18 Champions League while playing a key role in their run to the semi-finals. Klopp has also purchased Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri in the summer transfer window, possibly making the midfield even stronger and it was vital that he makes some effort to improve the defense to support an exciting forward line. After all, Alisson has proven to be worthy of performing at the biggest stage, keeping clean sheets in five of his six home games played in the 2017-18 Champions League for A.S. Roma, conceding goals in only one match, in May against Liverpool. Liverpool fans will certainly be keen to see how much the South American stopper can improve their chances of winning a first ever title since the beginning of the Premier League era.