DOMINIC KING: Virgil van Dijk labelled Liverpool team-mate Alisson as the ‘best goalie in the world’ after his show-stopping display against Southampton… the Brazilian can now prove his class at the World Cup
- Alisson delivered a show-stopping performance against Southampton
- Virgil van Dijk believes he is the ‘best goalie in the world’ at the moment
- Alisson can now prove how good he is on the world stage in Qatar
Though the Kop beckoned him to sign off for the six-week break with a hearty flurry of fist pumps, the German slipped away quietly with a wave. Instead, he left centre stage to the man who really deserved it.
Alisson was last to leave the field and, when he marched towards them, those who were still in their seats began chanting his name.
Alisson produced a heroic display against Southampton as he prepares to jet off to Qatar
A 3-1 dismissal of Southampton might have looked comfortable but, without the outstanding Brazilian goalkeeper, things might have been different.
During a second 45 minutes in which the Saints players gave new manager Nathan Jones reason for optimism, Alisson made three superb saves to thwart Mohamed Elyounoussi, Samuel Edozie and Che Adams.
He caught the eye before a ball had been kicked due to a dramatic change in appearance, having shaved his bushy black beard off. But the real focus was his continued brilliance.
The Brazil shot-stopper can prove all of his class at the World Cup with his national team
During a season in which many of his team-mates have struggled, Alisson has barely put a glove wrong.
‘I said to him, ‘You look like an American guy called John!’,’ Virgil van Dijk said.
‘Just a random guy! He sometimes does it, and this was how he prepared himself for the World Cup, but what a guy.
‘We have a great relationship and hopefully he will do well in the World Cup.
‘Brazil are a very good team, they have two of the best goalies in their squad. In my opinion, the best goalie in the world is Alisson.
‘It will be difficult in this form to get past him. If we (the Netherlands) play against him, I will try my best.’
Easier said than done. Liverpool have conceded more goals than normal but, without Alisson, they would not have been able to reach the mid-season break, as Klopp put it, seeing ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
Defender Virgil van Dijk (left) is full of praise for his goalkeeper and labels him as the ‘best’
A man-of-the match display at Goodison secured a draw, a penalty save from West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen turned a draw into a win and an his assist for Mo Salah against Manchester City also enabled a stalemate to become a triumph.
Without those five points, Klopp’s side would not even be in the top 10.
He is the best goalkeeper to play for Liverpool since the late, great Ray Clemence and is as important to this group as Peter Schmeichel was to Manchester United’s all-conquering squad of the 1990s.
‘You shouldn’t take anyone for granted and he has had a very successful last four years,’ said Van Dijk, whose side were able to beat Southampton thanks to a double from the excellent Darwin Nunez and a glancing header from Roberto Firmino, which had initially been cancelled out by Adams.
‘We would certainly never do that. He’s important for the group, on and off the pitch.
‘We don’t want him to have to make saves, first and foremost. But he had to do so against Southampton and he was outstanding.’
Jones’s new team will curse coming up against him in such inspired form, but others will understand their frustrations.
He now goes to Qatar with Brazil sure their quest to become world champions is being cradled in the safest of hands.