After receiving quite a bit of stick as to why I left Liverpool’s Allisson out of my GOALIE TIME! World’s Top 10 Keepers list, I am now going to provide my reasons why he is left out.
- Virgil Van Dijk. When I was coming up with the list, I wrote a list of about fifteen goalkeepers down who really had a claim at being in the top ten. The ones that I left out were Allisson, Kepa, Pickford, Yann Sommer and Kasper Schmeichel. Out of those five goalkeepers, there is only one who can claim to have the world’s best center back infront of him, and that’s Allisson. VVD is without a shadow of a doubt, the best center half in the league in the moment. With over 1400 completed passes, 109 clearances in the league thus far, and the insane statistic that not a single player has dribbled past him this year, it is hard to argue that Allisson’s life in goal is all that difficult. There used to be a Nike ad a long time ago with Paulo Maldini and it said, “Italy’s Goalkeeper: Easiest Job in Europe.” That ad could be remade with Van Dijk today, “Liverpool’s Goalkeeper: Easiest Job in Europe.” Nobody was lauding Allisson as one of the world’s best goalkeepers when he was at Roma, because he wasn’t. Yes he got better coming to Liverpool, I think John Acterberg is a very good goalkeeper coach. But I think a lot of the credit has to go to Liverpool’s defense, mainly to Van Dijk.
- Blunders, Blunders, Blunders. Every goalkeeper makes mistakes, it comes with the job. You have goalkeepers like Jan Oblak and David De Gea who never makes mistakes. To give a statistic, David De Gea has made three mistakes in five years at club and country level that have lead to a goal. That isn’t insane, that is unheard of. I know from being a goalkeeper myself, I make about three mistakes a game that lead to shots on goal (granted, I am not a world class athlete.) It is very easy for a goalkeeper to make mistakes as one mistake by the goalie usually leads to a goal, its just how it goes. Allisson has made some pretty big blunders this year. One where he tried dribbling the oncoming forward for whatever reason and gifted Leicester the goal, and another coming in Liverpool’s biggest game of the year against Man United where he dropped a simple cross and Jesse Lingard tapped in to make it 1-1. Any mistake for a goalkeeper is bad, let’s not beat around the bush. But some are worse than others, Lloris doing God knows what in the World Cup Final, Karius forgetting how to goalie in the UCL final, etc. Most people will forgive their goalie for letting a soft one in if they win the game, but will crucify them if they lose the game. The time will come where Allisson’s mistakes will cost him and his team, it happens to every goalkeeper at one point.
- Big time keepers show up on the big stage, Allisson hasn’t (but there is still PLENTY of time for him to lose that tag.) The best athletes, not just the best goalkeepers, show up when it matters most. If you look at the greatest athletes of all time, the bigger the occasion, the bigger the response. Federer, Ronaldo, Tyson, Brady, Armstrong, etc. Goalkeepers, and footballers in general are the same way. One great example that comes to mind when I think of a big game keeper is Ochoa of Mexico. May not be the best at club level, but the man turns into a human wall when he puts the Mexican kit on. David De Gea is another man who the bigger the occasion is, the bigger the response. Every goalkeeper I listed on on my top ten has that “big game” mantra, that special mojo that can carry their team to a victory when it seemingly was against them. Go ask Manchester United who has been their savior in big games, ask Chelsea from 2007-2013 who their savior was, go ask Real Madrid who their savior was the past few title winning Champions League campaigns, it was their goalkeeper. This Liverpool team is young and full of potential. They have one of the best managers in world football, one of the best attacking lineups in football as well. The defense is a brick wall, but it has only been the first half of the season. The tough games have yet to commence, Liverpool have an incredibly tough UCL draw against Bayern Munich. Let us revisit this article come the end of May, and I may have some updating of the top ten to do. But for now, as he has only been with this new team for a little over five months, and this new team has the best defense in the league, and maybe the best defense in Europe. Let’s see how he performs against the big boys, that will be the test.