Gary Neville has admitted that Liverpool’s Alisson Becker is one of his favourite goalkeepers in the Premier League.
Alisson has been remarkable for Liverpool this season. While others dropped their levels dismally, the Brazilian stood firm. Without his brilliance, there’s no way the Reds would be anything close to being 5th in the table.
As a result, plenty of fans and pundits will rightly include him in their Team’s of the Season for 2022/23. However, speaking on Sky Sports Monday Night Football last night, Neville instead opted for Newcastle United’s Nick Pope.
A worthy shout, Pope has been very, very good for an overperforming Newcastle side. But justifying his selection, Neville did still give a nod to Alisson, as well as countryman Ederson, of Manchester City.
“Nick Pope to be fair. At goalkeeper I love Ederson and I love Alisson, they have been my two favourite goalkeepers, but what Newcastle have done defensively with less resource defensively was spectacular,” said the pundit. “Nick Pope tonight you have seen the best defensive performance with City and I just thought he deserved it.”
Alisson still the very best around
Had Liverpool been better this season, Alisson would surely have been a shoo-in for every Team of the Season out there. On a personal level, it’s possibly been the 30-year-old’s best at Anfield.
But unfortunately, other sides have simply outperformed the Reds. Some of them by a huge distance.
Pope’s Newcastle are one of those teams. They confirmed their qualification for next season’s Champions League last night and their goalkeeper has been right at the heart of their success all year.
Were it not for a moment of craziness during their game against Liverpool in February, Pope could even have led them to a trophy. As it was, the 31-year-old had to sit out the Carabao Cup final after a rare blot on his copybook – a deliberate handball and a straight red against the Reds.
Alisson himself had a couple of notable blots on his own almost pristine season. The mistake against Real Madrid at Anfield which allowed Vinicius Jnr to level the score on the night will go down as the biggest one of all. Had he simply passed the ball beyond his national team colleague, maybe that night would have ended up differently.
But the amazing thing about Ali is that he always bounces back. He seems to understand and accept that all goalkeepers will make mistakes at some point. On the rare occasion that they are made, he’ll put them out of his mind and go on being brilliant. Even Pope himself has said how much he loves watching Alisson.
So, Pope and Ederson may both deserve acclaim, but there’s only one choice here. Just like Neville, we love our Big Brazilian goalie. The absolute best there is. Possibly the best there ever will be.