After months of speculation leading up to a world record breaking transfer, Alisson Becker finally made his debut for Liverpool in Dublin against Napoli.
The Brazilian shotstopper donned the number 13 shirt on a temporary basis in an impressive 5-0 win in which he only had one save to make, meaning that just when the pressure was on he had it easy. That said, it was a strong and confident display from the former Roma man.
Most eye catching of all was a moment after only three minutes of action. The ball was played back to the goalkeeper who took one look before sending a 60 yard pass right into the path of Mohamed Salah running away down the right flank on the break.
The superb pass was what eventually led to the first goal with Napoli panicking under pressure and giving possession back immediately after dispossessing the winger, with James Milner rifling home.
“He’s quite a good footballer – probably as good as the goalie he is! An all-round good performance for the first game. He was very, very aware of all situations when he was needed behind a high last line. We involved him a lot in our build-up, but we need to get used to that a little bit more still – that’s clear [and] he needs to get used to it a little bit more, but there were a lot of good build-up situations, so that helps. I’m really pleased.”
With one moment involving a fumbled shot, some rival fans were quick to make Loris Karius comparisons but that would be harsh given that the goalkeeper recovered strongly from an inexpensive one-off error.
Alisson commanded his box well, though some may hope that as he grows in confidence and adapts to his new team-mates he will come off his line more to assist the back four on the ball.
The key factor was his distribution though, offering the kind of attacking outlet right from the back that no goalkeeper has offered at Anfield ever since Pepe Reina departed.
It is still very early days in Alisson’s Liverpool career, but if his debut was anything to go by, fans should be getting excited about what can be achieved with him between the sticks.