Kopites aplenty will come up with the same answer if you ask them for their player of the season so far.
In truth, there aren’t too many in the Liverpool squad to select from. Few have shown consistency and they quality we’ve become accustomed to seeing over the past few years under Jurgen Klopp.
Several players’ form has jettisoned. Fabinho has been a shadow of his former self in centre midfield, while Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah have had their struggles.
One member of Klopp’s side who can feel he’s performing to his best ability, however, is Alisson Becker.
The goalkeeper was the Reds’ man of the match in the 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest. He made two crucial saves to ensure Liverpool did not suffer a humbling loss at the City Ground. That performance can against the backdrop of his penalty save in the 1-0 win against West Ham and magnificant display in the 1-0 victory over Manchester City – assisting Mo Salah’s crucial goal.
Granted, it’s Alisson’s primary job to keep the ball out of the back of the net. It’s why Liverpool splashed out £65 million for his services in 2018. Yet Klopp must be concerned by how often the former AS Roma stopper is being called into action. It underlines the Reds’ frailties in defence and why they’ve stuttered along this season.
Already, Alisson has recorded a total of 35 saves in the Premier League – the joint-seventh most in the division. Worryingly, he has been called into action more than the regular keepers from five of the top flight’s bottom six clubs; Leicester’s Danny Ward (34), Southampton’s Gavin Bazunu, Wolves’ Jose Sa (both 32), West Ham’s Lucasz Fabianski (31) and Leeds’ Illan Meslier (30).In contrast, Man City’s Ederson has been forced to make just 14 saves while Aaron Ramsdale of leaders Arsenal has pulled off 23 stops.
This season, Alisson has been averaging 3.18 saves per match in the Premier League. That is a marked increase from his previous campaigns at Anfield.Last term, Alisson averaged 2.11 saves per game. In 2018-19 and 2019-20, Alisson made an average of two saves per appearance. Perhaps most concerning was that in 2020-21 – when Liverpool scrapped into the Champions League – he still only averaged 2.5 saves per match.
Alisson has let in 19 goals in all competitions this season. All these would have been lessened with a proper defense from the backline.
The Reds’ ambition is no longer to be in the title race. They already languish 12 points adrift of Arsenal and 10 behind Man City.
A top-four finish will be the ultimate aim. That won’t be straightforward, either, with Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Newcastle United all in the battle.
For Liverpool to again ensure they book their spot in Europe’s elite club competition for a sixth successive year, Alisson needs to be better protected and less active.