Alisson Becker: The Man Liverpool Have to Thank for Their Sixth European Title

​The image of Loris Karius in a flood of tears after last season's Champions League final was still fresh in the memory of Liverpool fans in the build-up to this year's showdown with Tottenham in Madrid.


Two calamitous blunders from the German goalkeeper were pretty much the deciding factor in his side's 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in Kiev, and although his club and his manager formed a supportive unit in the aftermath of last season's disappointment, the time came for Jurgen Klopp to be ruthless and the addition of Alisson Becker has been pivotal in their quest for European glory this term.

Loris Karius

A once unstable defensive line with an untrustworthy guardian between the sticks has been transformed into one of the best defences in the world thanks to the authoritative figure of Alisson.


The Brazilian made more saves than any other keeper in the ​Champions League this season, including a record eight in the final. On a night where Klopp's men struggled to show the sort of attacking form that has been so deadly over the course of this season's campaign, it was the £66m keeper who came up with a big performance on the biggest stage. 


His form for the Reds has been an ever-present theme throughout their Champions League journey, so let's take a look back at some of his most defining moments on the road to the title. 


THAT Save Against Napoli (Group Stage)

Many forget that Liverpool were on the brink of being dumped out of the competition before the knock out stages, however a victory over ​Napoli in the final game of the group stage meant they went through on goal difference.

Things could have been so different had it not been for a 92nd minute save from Alisson. On a night where ​Liverpool had 23 shots on the Napoli goal but only managed to convert one, it always felt like they could pay for missed chances. A Napoli goal would have meant elimination for the Reds and when the ball fell to Arkadiusz Milik eight yards out, one on one with Alisson and with only two minutes of added time remaining, Anfield held its breath.


The keeper rushed off his line and spread his body in order to block the striker's shot from point-blank range. Alisson reflected on that moment in an interview with BT Sport, revealing: "I think that save against Napoli was the same as scoring a goal. After that moment you have no chance to score again, so I think it was pretty much like scoring."


Reflex Save Against Bayern Munich (Round of 16)

Alisson

The first leg of the round of 16 was a cagey affair for Liverpool as they hosted ​Bayern Munich and played out a 0-0 stalemate. Bayern came with a game plan and stifled the home team's offensive system. Although they had few clear cut chances at Anfield, a low cross into the box was met by an oncoming Joel Matip who, facing his own goal, made a slashed clearance which was going straight into the top corner of his own net, had Alisson not been there to make a reflex save.


It all happened so quickly that the amount the keeper knew about it is up for debate, however it's not so much whether he meant it or not, but how alert he was to take up a good position in order to make the block. 


If that had gone in then Bayern would have had an away goal which would have changed the whole complexion of the tie, giving them an advantage to take back to the Allianz. 


Safe Hands Against Porto (Quarter Final)

Although this was the most comprehensive victory over two legs in their Champions League campaign, Liverpool withstood a first-half barrage from Porto in the second leg which was a test of their resilience.

The Portuguese side had 19 shots on Alisson's goal, eight of which were on target. None of those saves were what you would describe as 'world class', however they all required the keeper to have safe hands. One spill would have led to a tap-in for a pouncing striker however the keeper managed to smother what he could and make the ball stick - not only vital for himself but a real confidence boost for his defenders. 


The Greatest Comeback in History?

We all know how good Klopp's side were going forward during their second leg thrashing of ​Barcelona, however the four big saves their goalkeeper made throughout the game were critical in ensuring four goals were enough to send them through. 

Alisson got down low to stop former red Philippe Coutinho in the 18th minute with the score at 1-0, pushing his shot away from an oncoming ​Luis Suarez and just before half time he denied Jordi Alba to maintain his side's narrow lead going in for the break. 

Early in the second half he denied another former Red, this time Suarez's shot could have been better however Liverpool's keeper matched it nonetheless. This was key as moments later Georginio Wijnaldum grabbed two quick-fire goals to make it 3-3 on aggregate.


It was at this point where Alisson made another fantastic save, this time to deny ​Lionel Messi and keep the clean sheet his side so desperately needed. 


Five Saves in 13 Minutes in the Final

Alisson became the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in the ​Champions League final since Julio Cesar in 2010, and after a 13 minute spell towards the end of the game he should be thanked for not only keeping a clean sheet, but Liverpool's triumph on the night.


First up was a routine stop to deny ​Dele Alli in the 72nd minute. A double save in the 79th minute was more impressive, as Alisson displayed strong wrists to parry ​Son Heung-min's long range attempt to safety, however a defensive mistake gifted Lucas Moura a chance straight away. His snapshot was aimed for the bottom corner, however the Brazilian got down well to hold the ball and keep the score at 1-0.

FBL-EUR-C1-TOTTENHAM-LIVERPOOL

One minute later he was called into action again, this time another routine stop from a long range attempt by Son. It was ​Christian Eriksen's free-kick in the 85th minute which was the pick of the bunch, his curling effort was heading for the top corner but a flying Becker got a firm hand on it to tip the ball out for a corner. Two minutes later ​Liverpool had their second goal and put their name on the trophy. 


All in all that's £66m well spent, and in the words of Klopp: "If I knew Alisson was this good, I would have paid double."


Source : 90min

Source: 90min