Liverpool will require more Alisson Becker excellence than ever this season

Ask Liverpool fans who their favourite player is and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear a large number of them name the man between the sticks.

It’s a rare case when the goalkeeper is anyone's favourite player, but Alisson Becker is just that for a lot of Reds out there – and with good reason.

Since arriving from Roma in the summer of 2018, the Brazilian has been one of Liverpool’s most important players and his significance may rise even further going into this season.

The Reds, for the first time under Jurgen Klopp, didn’t look themselves last campaign and missed out on Champions League football after a lowly fifth place finish in the Premier League.

“What went wrong?” many people asked. Well, what went right? Not much, if we’re being honest, but one man who can hold his head up high is Alisson.

The Reds stopper made 14 clean sheets and just missed out on picking up his third Golden Glove award despite the Reds not offering him much protection.

Alisson’s sheer dominance in goal saved the Reds on numerous occasions in matches and his calming presence helped a struggling defensive set-up.

Even Virgil van Dijk, who hasn’t looked human during his time at Liverpool because of how good he’s been, played below his level at times last term.

The midfield was as weak as it’s ever been under Klopp and now Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have waved goodbye to Anfield. Changes are afoot.

One thing that does remain is the importance of the Liverpool number one. With Henderson and Milner both out of the door, Alisson has a key place in the Reds' senior leadership group alongside Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah.

READ MORE: Liverpool's leadership group explained

With his Brazilian best friends, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, now playing in Saudi Arabia, Alisson will task himself with looking after new boy and fellow South American Alexis Mac Allister while continuing to help Uruguayan Darwin Nuñez settle into the club.

Alisson is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the league, and for good reason. Last season, the Brazilian’s number of 10.2 ‘saved’ goals for the Reds was double of the next best in the league – Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea had a combined 5.1 goals for Chelsea.

A winning run at the end of the season ensured Liverpool secured a Europa League spot, but without Alisson in the net, that would not have been possible.

His excellent distribution was showcased during Liverpool’s 1-0 win over champions Manchester City at Anfield in October. The shot stopper found a surging Salah and he was able to slot beyond Ederson in the dying stages of the game.

Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United right-back, Gary Neville, has always been vocal on the importance of having a world class goalkeeper.

He had previously criticised Simon Mignolet, stating Liverpool would never win the league with him in goal. Well, Neville was correct. The Belgian wasn’t quite good enough and Alisson has shown that. The Reds have won every major honour since his arrival and have needed their keeper to be at his best, even during their most dominant of times.

One of Alisson’s best displays for the Reds came in the biggest game of them all; the Champions League final in 2019.

Liverpool took an early lead through Salah’s penalty and relied on their goalkeeper to help keep Tottenham Hotspur out as they lifted number seven in Madrid. Van Dijk was officially named Player of the Match, but it could have easily been Alisson.

If Wednesday’s pre-season friendly loss against Bayern Munich in Singapore was anything to go by, Liverpool are going to need Alisson to be better than ever. The defence struggled in the new system Klopp is using and there’s a gaping hole in the midfield.

READ MORE: 7 big questions for Liverpool ahead of the 2023/24 season

With two bids rejected by Southampton for Romeo Lavia, Liverpool are likely to go into the opening Premier League game without a recognised defensive midfielder. It might be a case of outscoring the opponent at this rate.

Going forward, the Reds are looking slick and able to create numerous goalscoring opportunities, but the defence is a worry and many Liverpool fans would agree.

Alexander-Arnold’s inverted right-back role fills the midfield, but leaves three defenders sitting. Robertson isn’t quite used to sitting back and is leaving gaps to be exploited beyond Van Dijk.

One thing is for sure and that is sides are going to get chances against Liverpool in the early stages of the season especially, but getting past Alisson is a task in itself.

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