Liverpool coach John Achterberg has spoken about the part he played in Alisson Becker’s crazy stoppage-time winner against West Brom on Sunday.
The Brazilian became the first goalkeeper to score in the club’s illustrious history after heading home Trent Alexander-Arnold ‘s late corner to claim a vital three points in the race for a top-four finish. The Reds are now a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with only two games remaining.
Eyebrows were raised when Alisson initially ran up for the set-piece, considering the scores were level at the time and Jurgen Klopp’s men would have remained in contention for a Champions League spot even if they had dropped points at the Hawthorns.
But Reds goalkeeping coach Achterberg has revealed it was his decision to send the Brazilian up.
“I looked at my watch, 94, and I thought it was going to be the last kick of the game,” the Dutchman said. “We needed to win, so I shouted, ‘Get up, get in the box!’ to him!
“I didn’t see Ali looking to the bench to see if he should go up before I shouted; I just thought we had nothing to lose and we needed to put everything into the box we had.
“My reaction was like everyone else’s – jumping around like mad, last minute, winning goal, that’s how it is!
“The technique… he is natural in everything he does, playing and heading. It was a great finish.
“You’re just so happy for him to do it but also for the team. We kept fighting, creating chances but not scoring them. The opponent made it difficult for us, so you have to find a way to overcome it. Ninety-fourth minute and nothing to lose…”
Special tribute to Alisson
Alisson has endured a sobering season on Merseyside following the passing of his father, Jose, back in February.
And Achterberg has paid tribute to how Liverpool’s N0.1, who gave an emotional interview to Sky Sports after the game at the Hawthorns, has handled himself.
“He wanted to carry on, to play on and try to continue,” he told the club website. “We have tried to be positive with him and talk about things when the time is right and try to make sure he is OK and support him and his whole family.
“It has not been an easy situation, but he believes his dad will watch over them – and that was the feeling with what happened yesterday. I had the same feeling, that his dad was watching over him.
“When we were talking after the game on the pitch, we spoke about that and I said to him that I believed his dad was there in that moment. We were emotional for him because we’d met his dad and his family, so it’s been a tough time but he has wanted to carry on.”