Summer Liverpool signing Alisson Becker has lifted the lid on his adjustment to life on Merseyside.
Liverpool completed the world-record signing of Alisson in July, with reports suggesting the Reds have agreed to pay a guaranteed £56million up front, with £53.8m going to Roma and £2.2m to his former club Internacional.
The Brazil international conducted an exclusive interview with Goal as they presented him with a trophy for best goalkeeper in the world based on voting from their panel.
“Nice!” he responded when handed the trophy. “Best in the world, really?”
Alisson’s first taste of Anfield came during his visit with Roma for the Champions League semi-final first leg back in April, when he conceded five. However, he does not hold bad memories of that night.
“It was a very happy moment of my career,” he says. “It was a very happy season, in which I experienced great things.
“In that match, all I remember is the power of the fans and of the team we faced.
“The quality of Liverpool had already attracted my attention from watching them on TV, but I was very, very impressed by what I saw on the field that night.”
The 26-year-old reflected on his decision to swap the Italian capital for Merseyside: “It was a big thing, but I am happy with my decision.
“I believe the intensity is a little different,” Alisson replied when asked about the difference in style between England and Italy.
“During the matches, the opposing team will always offer you some danger.
“In Serie A, in some games, although not always, the big team can control matches. It’s a more tactical football, more studied.
“There is more space to move the ball in the defence, but when you come to the offence, there is no space to create. That’s the difference for me.
“Serie A football is focused on defence; every team is organised in this way. The Premier League is more about intensity.
“In terms of quality, both leagues are very close, but here you have to be prepared for 90 minutes of full intensity.”
Alisson also discussed his own style of play, which includes occasionally being too overconfident on the ball.
“I believe that [good] footwork adds something extra to a goalkeeper but a goalkeeper first needs to defend, to have good positioning.
“Then, after that, he can help the team carrying the ball, which is something I have always enjoyed doing ever since I began my career back at Internacional.
“Here, in Europe, I could do it more because of the style of the teams in which I’ve played.
“Liverpool are a team which works the ball from the back, so it’s important that the goalkeeper can also be part of that.
“I always liked to watch goalkeepers,” he continued. “Watch their styles, their strengths and flaws, to learn something and improve.
“From my childhood, I always looked to Taffarel. He’s our biggest goalkeeping idol in Brazil from the 1994 World Cup, when we won on penalties in the final.
“In the 1998 World Cup semi-final [against Netherlands], he also saved a penalty kick; both are key moments.
“He had technical quality, perfect positioning, so he’s a goalkeeper that always inspired me.
“Also Gianluigi Buffon, he, for me, is one of the best in the history of football, if not the best.”
He was also asked if he ever discusses the title race with fellow Brazilians Ederson, Fernandinho, Danilo, Gabriel Jesus from City – as well as the likes of Willian, David Luiz, Lucas Moura and Fred from Chelsea and Spurs – while on international duty.
“Sometimes!” smiles Alisson. “When we’re on national duty we’re team-mates, but obviously we talk about it.
“This rivalry is important so everyone can grow, so it’s also important for the Brazilian national team. We play in the highest level in the Premier League, so keeping this high level of competition is key.
“We talk, sure, and we know how hard the race for the title is going to be. But we know we can do it. It isn’t easy, but we’ll keep up our good work and look to improve every time.”
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