Liverpool have muscled their way back into the Premier League title race – but the Reds will have to lean heavily on one of their key man in order to see the job through
Just a couple of months ago, the race to claim the Premier League title already seemed to be done and dusted.
Manchester City surged away from Liverpool and Chelsea after all three had made an electric start to the season – but the Reds have reeled their rivals back in since the turn of the year and now sit just a solitary point behind the reigning champions.
And with Liverpool poised to return to action before Manchester City this weekend by virtue of their early kick-off against Watford, the Reds know they have the opportunity to give themselves a huge mental boost in the race for the title by moving ahead of City; even if it’s only for a few hours.
The £37million capture of Luis Diaz has certainly helped to reinvigorate the Reds’ title charge – but it’s another key man at the other of the pitch who has played a quiet but pivotal role in Liverpool’s remarkable renaissance over the past few months.
Alisson has arguably been head-and-shoulders above the rest of the Premier League since he arrived at Anfield back in 2018. The Brazilian shot-stopper has inspired the Reds to both domestic and European accolades since he was lured away from Roma in a £67m deal – and he’s proven invaluable once again since the turn of the year.
The Reds looked shaky at the back earlier in the season, throwing away cheap goals to leave their title challenge on rocky ground. But Liverpool’s rearguard – marshalled by Alisson – are now back to their resolute best; conceding just two goals in their last 10 games to thrust Jurgen Klopp’s side back into the title picture.
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It’s a situation which mirrors the state Liverpool were in prior to the Brazilian’s arrival, where the Merseyside outfit had endured a number of near-misses in their bid to reclaim their perch at the summit of English football. Alisson and Virgil van Dijk were the signings that helped the Reds change that.
While it’s nigh on impossible not to focus on the heavy artillery that Liverpool boast in their star-studded attacking ranks, their defensive steel shouldn’t be underestimated during the run-in.
If Liverpool can shut out Manchester City when they meet in a blockbuster clash later this month, they know they have the firepower to hurt their title rivals. And the Reds also have the foundations required to stay one step ahead of Pep Guardiola’s men over the final month of the season – if Alisson can sustain his recent purple patch.
The 29-year-old played a crucial role during Liverpool’s stunning 2019/20 title-winning campaign; a triumph that shattered an agonising 30-year title drought. Two years ago, Gary Neville declared that Alisson was the “best” goalkeeper in the Premier League “by a mile” and that he could be the difference in the Reds bid to win the title – and he could be proven right all over again in the final weeks of this season.
He told Sky Sports back in 2020: “When you have an outstanding goalkeeper the difference it makes is off the scale. From a good goalkeeper to a great goalkeeper, the points that you’ll win is unquantifiable. Alisson does that week in, week out.
“Even at Crystal Palace on Saturday, Liverpool were by far the better team but there was a 20 minute period at the start of the game when there was a couple of moments where Alisson makes a save, where if that goes in then things could change.
“He makes save after save, good decision after good decision, he’s made the fewest errors, and he gives complete assurance and authority to everybody else in that team.
“It’s the most difficult decision on the pitch, but for a top team that’s going to win the league or the Champions League, I don’t know how you’re going to win without having an amazing goalkeeper, and he’s an amazing goalkeeper.
“They’ve gone from number two in the Champions League, number two and three in the league, without him, to number one.
“They were never going to win the league with the previous goalkeepers. In a million years, never, not going to happen. That’s eight, 10, 15 points. You can’t quantify it.”