Ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has revealed what he believes is the main reason for Alisson’s drop in form for Liverpool this season.
Since arriving in the summer of 2018, Alisson had been a reliably consistent performer for the Reds. He provided some much-needed solidity following unconvincing spells in between the sticks from Mignolet and Loris Karius. In fact, his presence helped Jurgen Klopp’s side secure the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020.
However, in line with many of Liverpool’s players, the Brazilian has not performed at his usual high standards this term.
He has made a number of mistakes which have led to goals, while his shot-stopping and reactions have also been below par.
For example, his errors in the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in February proved costly. More recently, his positioning during the Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat to Real Madrid was questioned.
The statistics also show this has been his worst year in England. In 26 Premier League appearances, he has conceded 27 times. That is already more than in his first two campaigns, having let in 22 in 2018/19 and 23 in 2019/20.
Van Dijk absence crucial
And Mignolet, who left Liverpool in August 2019, believes that is down to Virgil van Dijk’s unavailability.
The Dutchman was ruled out for the season when he suffered an ACL injury in the Merseyside derby in October. That left the Reds without arguably the most influential player in their side.
Mignolet was still at Anfield when van Dijk signed, so he knows how important he is to the team. Therefore, he is not surprised that his ex-club have been more leaked more goals without him.
Discussing Alisson’s form with De Tribune podcast (via the Daily Mail), the Belgian said: “That will have several reasons.
“On the one hand, he has had a few injuries, but there is also the fact that they have been missing Virgil van Dijk for almost the whole season.
“That’s a chunk of stability that’s gone anyway. That was actually already a difference when I was there. Van Dijk came when I ended up on the bench.
“From the moment he started playing, we stopped goals. Liverpool with or without him is a huge difference, I think.”
Almost six months on from being injured, van Dijk is now back on the training field and doing work with a ball. Although, he has not yet rejoined his teammates.
Despite his importance, Liverpool have no intention of rushing him back from what was a serious injury. Instead, they hope to work him back to fitness by putting him through an intensive pre-season regime.
However, those plans could be scuppered if Holland boss Frank De Boer opts to include him in his squad for this summer’s EUROs.
Klopp is reportedly ‘horrified’ at the idea of his star centre back featuring for his country this summer. But Dutch legend Marco van Basten believes that could actually work to Liverpool’s advantage.
It is currently unclear whether van Dijk will actually feature, but there are plenty who will have an interest in De Boer’s final decision.