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How Alisson Becker lived up to expectations with impressive Liverpool debut

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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.”

Jurgen Klopp was impressed.

 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.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Champions League blow; Mignolet departure nears; Fabinho discusses challenge

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Liverpool are left waiting to see which seed they will be in the Champions League draw

Liverpool will be hoping that PAOK will beat Portuguese side Benfica in their Champions League qualifying play-off as victory for the Greek side will see the Reds through to Pot 2 in the Champions League draw ahead of the Iberian outfit.

The draw will take place in Monaco on August 30, with Liverpool currently the highest ranked team in Pot 3 but behind Benfica, the only remaining Pot 2 team in qualification. It comes after Swiss side FC Basel were shockingly knocked out, allowing Liverpool to take up the spot of first in line to join Pot 2.

Simon Mignolet’s agent has spoken about his future

Simon Mignolet has been strongly linked with a move away from Anfield as he has fallen even further down the pecking order following the arrival of Alisson Becker, and it now seems that he may be third choice on Merseyside. Napoli are the latest club to be linked with a move before the transfer window shuts in Italy on Friday.

“We are in discussions with Napoli, but there is no agreement yet. In the end it is in their interest to find a solution. Liverpool want to keep Simon, but he wants to play in matches – and he should. He deserves to play for a big club. Simon is the best option for Napoli in terms of quality, even though there is a financial aspect to it.”

Mignolet’s agent, Nico Vaessen, discussed the possibility of a deal.

With time running out, all parties will have to get to work if they are to come to an agreement to allow the Belgian to leave. Much could depend on the future of second choice shotstopper Loris Karius, who has also been linked with an exit.

Fabinho has discussed the challenge of adapting to the Premier League

Summer signing Fabinho was only on the bench for the Reds on Sunday as they overcame West Ham United with a 4-0 win and the Brazilian has discussed the challenge that he faces having joined from Monaco.

“I think my performances have been good. It’s a different playing style than at Monaco; there were two of us in midfield there and here at Liverpool there’s three… I knew [my role] would change and I feel I’ve adapted well. When I came to Liverpool I knew this competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team.”

The Brazilian hasn’t hidden his struggles.

Some fans were not convinced by his pre-season form but it remains early days in his Anfield career with plenty of opportunities ahead to prove himself in a holding midfield role.

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One to Watch: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold oozes confidence vs West Ham

The 19-year-old picked up exactly where he left off last season.

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Arnold
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Trent Alexander-Arnold was again in fine form as Liverpool begun their Premier League season with a dominant 4-0 win at home to West Ham.

He simply picked up from where he left season, oozing confidence as he patrolled the right side – camping himself in West Ham’s territory as Liverpool dominated the match.

The Englishman’s exceptional passing ability was the main feature of his performance.

He touched the ball 99 times and completed 58 of his 69 passes, with one delightful line-breaking pass standing out.

This ball, played through to Naby Keita as Liverpool broke forward in the build-up to their first goal, highlighted how dangerous Alexander-Arnold’s passing range when he is given time to raise his eyes and play diagonal balls through midfield.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

This diagonal pass split West Ham’s entire midfield open, sending Keita on a burst that culminated in Salah putting the Reds 1-0 ahead.

It was symbolic of the mentality Klopp instils in his players, making them feel confident taking risks to set attacks in motion.

In this instance, the 19-year-old could easily have recycled the ball to a centre-back, but his team were rewarded for his courage in possession.

Defensively, he was also quite active, completing four of his five tackles and making a solitary interception.

Again, having West Ham camped in their own half suited Alexander-Arnold as he was able to press up the pitch and win the ball early in typical Liverpool fashion.

He continues to prove why he is so important to this Liverpool team, and highlights why Nathaniel Clyne cannot get close to first-team football.

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Liverpool round-up: Klopp’s West Ham reaction; Klavan bid rejected; Lovren latest

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Jurgen Klopp reacts to Liverpool‘s West Ham win

Liverpool opened their Premier League campaign with a record equaling win over West Ham United thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane twice and Daniel Sturridge. The victory took the team straight to the top of the table with one game played and 37 more to go.

“A very good start, for sure. Yes, it’s a start – perfect as well because we won the game. For us it was not perfect, but really good. West Ham will play for sure a good season, but they are not then the Uniteds, Citys and all that stuff. That’s how it is, they know that and we know that and we have to be ready week in, week out for all the different challenges. Expectation – ours is the highest, but that changes nothing.”

Jurgen Klopp was impressed.

The Reds were dominant up against Mauricio Pellegrini’s Hammers, who were never at the races. Having taken a two goal lead before half-time, Mane added a second before Sturridge scored with his first touch despite coming on as a late substitute.

Newcastle wanted Klavan

News has emerged that the Reds turned down a deadline day bid from Newcastle United for Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan. The report comes from The Chronicle, who say that former Anfield boss Rafa Benitez was keen on the central defender as a cheap option to strengthen his squad.

However, Jurgen Klpop decided that the team could not do without the 32-year-old, who is currently unavailable for selection due to an injury problem. That is despite the fact that his contract is set to expire in 2019, though Klopp has previously said he would like to retain his services.

Lovren set for weeks out

Dejan Lovren returned from the World Cup suffering from a stomach problem and remains sidelined by the issue, as Jurgen Klopp has now confirmed. The German revealed that the Croatian was already struggling towards the end of the season but played through the pain expecting that it would clear up when he had time off after the summer break.

“I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks. In that time he can probably for sure train already, but not the full programme, so that will then take time. In the end, it is serious but not that serious, so it’s not that we need to be afraid that it will take him until whenever. In the moment he is not available, that’s true.”

Klopp provided an update after facing West Ham.

However, that has not been the case and the coach has now revealed that he faces one to three weeks on the sidelines with the issue. Joe Gomez excelled in his place on Sunday and looks set to retain that position.

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