It had all the ingredients of a potential banana skin for Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side.
Despite our good recent record in South London, winning on the last three visits under Klopp, it is generally considered a tough trip for Liverpool and perhaps that is more down to the scars of ‘Crystanbul’ and Dwight Gayle than anything else.
It had all the makings of a tough first away game for the club’s new Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson. Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend, Christian Benteke, ‘welcome to the Premier League mate.’
It was a relatively quiet debut for the £56 million signing from Roma vs West Ham United with a lack of shots to face and no real opportunity to show his undoubted quality.
But Palace away was going to be different, it had to be different. There was no way Alisson was going to get out of London without being tested in some manner. It would not be an outlandish shout to suggest that part of Hodgson’s plan would have been to target the Brazilian, particularly with the strength of Benteke upfront, not that the plan ever came to fruition however.
It was an impressive performance from Alisson, more-so because it was an average performance, it was neither here nor there, to be perfectly honest it was a performance that is barely worth writing about. However, Liverpool fans have been used to a goalkeeper doing something that has been worth writing about, and it has usually been something negative that has been written.
Alisson still found himself with little to do, but it was like facing the Alamo compared to what he faced on the opening weekend.
There was nothing he could do to stop Van Aanholt’s ridiculous long-range effort which smashed the crossbar in the first half.
But it was the second half where we saw glimpses of what Alisson could offer in between the sticks at Anfield and beyond this season.
It was a comfortable save in the 53rd minute to deny Luka Milivojevic free-kick but it was a save that he needed to make. It was actually almost a carbon copy of a save Loris Karius made to deny a free-kick from Jason Puncheon from the same position in the same match last season.
That save was followed by a reaction of huge praise and adulation for the German. Possibly because fans were not used to seeing a Liverpool goalkeeper make the ‘saves they should make’. Alisson did that last night, which was perhaps why there was a bit more of a muted response to this save.
This is where we get our money back for him. These are the money shots.
Fucking hell, this lad can strike a ball can’t he?
The stat coming out post-match was that Alisson completed 21 out of an attempted 23 passes, which is remarkable when you see how many long passes he attempted.
Alisson misplaced just two passes against Palace.
He also completed more passes than Townsend (19), Zaha (14), Salah (13) and Benteke (12). pic.twitter.com/ehIgTaUCJZ
— ReviewFootball (@ReviewFootball) August 20, 2018
There was one sweeping pass to the left hand side that wiped out half of Palace’s team to pick out Andy Robertson in the 65th minute which had echoes of textbook-Xabi Alonso all about it. You can see how much of a potential weapon Alisson’s distribution can be for the side this season.
The confidence he has in his own ability is clear to see. 48 minutes in he receives a pass back inside his own six-yard box with a determined Townsend hounding him and within inches of him. Alisson was as composed as they come to loft the ball out of the penalty area and set up an attack.
First away game done
If this is a sign of things to come from Alisson then that transfer fee will be completely justified. A problem area has been addressed this summer and there is every reason why supporters can have total and utter confidence in their new number one (13).
Two games done. Two clean sheets. Up the now have a boss goalkeeper Reds.
*Odds are subject to change