This summer has been very encouraging for Liverpool. Other than the arrivals of Naby Keita and Fabinho in midfield, the main reason for this was the signing of Alisson. Brazil’s number 1 at the World Cup.
Following Loris Karius Champions League nightmare and pre-season blunders this relieved many Liverpool fans. For £67m Liverpool seem to have found themselves a genuine number 1 and won’t have to see the man between the sticks constantly chop and change.
But is Alisson actually better than Karius, and if so, how much better?
With Karius and Mignolet playing significantly less games than Alisson, we’ll look at their stats per 90 minutes to give a more fair reflection.
Goalkeepers are in one of two of the most pressurised positions in football, the other being strikers.
The biggest reason for this is that the team’s whole performance, more often than not, counts on them being reliable. Unfortunately for both Karius and Mignolet, neither can say they’ve been reliable keepers for most of their time at Anfield.
With reliability comes confidence and this is something Liverpool may see with the introduction of Alisson. Although he didn’t keep as many clean sheets per 90 minutes than Karius, he made more saves per goal conceded than Karius and Mignolet combined last season. These saves should install confidence in his team that he can be trusted as the last line of defence.
Also, goalkeepers need to be dominant and calm those around them. Allison certainly looks like he can do that. Both Mignolet and Karius had tendencies to parry first which although it can get rid of danger, doesn’t necessarily calm the situation down. This can be seen as Karius has almost double the amount of punches that Alisson has.
With Alisson catching the ball more often, however, this’ll give Liverpool the opportunity to slow the game down if needs be and also make the defence more confident in his goalkeeping.
Another aspect of the game that is increasingly under scrutiny for goalkeepers now is their distribution. Although Klopp’s style isn’t that of Guardiola’s, etc, Alisson will still be expected to be sound with the ball at his feet. With a distribution accuracy 8% higher than Mignolet’s having played almost double the minutes, this aspect of his game should help calm Liverpool fans down over the course of the season.
So, of course Alisson is a good signing as Liverpool look to assert a proper number 1. However, we’ve also seen that he in fact should make an actual effect on the pitch and bring confidence to a Liverpool back-line that has lacked it for some time now. How good he’ll be on a whole though, we’ll have to wait and see.