Liverpool’s name has been thrust straight back into the goalkeeper equation as we have been linked this morning with Roma’s Alisson Becker.
With Chris Bascombe being as reliable as it gets when it comes to Liverpool matters, this link is suddenly very exciting. It’s the easiest thing in the world to scream that we need a new goalkeeper after Saturday, but I think that we do and was coming round to that way of thinking before the final had kicked off.
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However, before we write of Loris Karius completely, I suspect that a deal with Roma is going to be hard to come by. We are going to be paying “Mo Salah tax” in anything we negotiate with Roma. The mercurial Egyptian was the steal of the summer in 2017 for around £35m and Roma were under financial pressures to let him go.
It seems as though they still are to an extent but talk of a £60m fee is still being bandied around. I am a firm believer of paying what it takes to get your man, but that is an eye watering sum of money for any goalkeeper. The current record (on exchange rates only) is Manchester City’s Ederson. So if Roma are intent on that price, that’s the best part of doubling the current record which was only set last summer.
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However, Jurgen Klopp has won my trust with transfers and it seems all his eggs are in the Alisson basket. That’s not an approach I like personally but it that was the route we went down with Virgil van Dijk last summer and that turned out alright in the end. The German was adamant it was van Dijk or nobody so bided his time until the transfer was viable. It caused me a meltdown in the summer but was proven to be absolutely the right thing to do.
From what little I’ve seen of the Brazilian keeper, he looks calm, assured and excellent with the ball at his feet. I would hope he’s the answer to our long standing goalkeeping situation given the prices being discussed but I can certainly see why we want to sign him.
His style is more suited to ours than, for example, Jan Oblak, because he is quick off his line and quick to play the role of sweeper keeper. You won’t find a bigger fan of the Atletico Madrid keeper than me, but he is a box keeper. Klopp is looking for someone who can take control of situations in broken play when our high defensive line has been breached.
This is a part of his game that has never let Karius down. He was always on the front foot, always quick to shut danger down. Alisson has the same attributes to his game. But is the Brazilian actually any good when it comes to shot stopping?
I don’t actually know! After a supremely confident first half an hour at Anfield, the whole Roma outfit were blown away by the Reds in one of the most breathtaking displays of attacking football I’ve ever seen. The goalkeeper was left exposed by a crazily naive tactical set up that brought about the thumping it deserved. He was also left exposed by poor Roma defending in the second leg.
However, Roma finished third in Serie A last season as well as reaching the last four of the Champions League. In their domestic league they conceded a miserly 28 goals. That is a very impressive achievement and if that kind of return was brought about for us, we would almost certainly be knocking on the door for a title challenge – Manchester City only conceded 27 last season compared to our 38.
Defensively we have tightened up since the turn of the year without question and the brilliance of van Dijk has certainly contributed to that. He has been imperious since becoming the club record signing in January. Karius has performed to reasonable levels since he regained his place in the team at the turn of the year but has never truly convinced. Kiev has simply reinforced the fact he isn’t up to task as opposed to it being a massive eye opener.
I have accused Klopp of a lack of ruthlessness in the past and I stand by that – heads should have rolled after the Basel fiasco when we capitulated against Sevilla. But that isn’t the manager’s style and he isn’t going to bomb Karius out of the club. However, there is no way the German should be number one anymore and I personally think that his mistakes on Saturday cannot be recovered from. I find it refreshing that we are immediately reviewing the situation.
But with a £60m price tag and Roma stinging from seeing Salah become one of the most highly valued footballers on the planet in the space of 12 months, I suspect that Michael Edwards will have some tough negotiating to come to get this one over the line.