Alisson

Alisson: ‘We don’t want to feel how we felt last season’

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Liverpool’s star goalkeeper Alisson doesn’t want a repeat of last season.

The Brazilian stopper was named the best goalkeeper on the planet after his heroics in his debut season at Anfield as the Reds won the UEFA Champions League and came agonizingly close to winning the Premier League.

Ahead of their massive clash at Anfield against Manchester City on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NNBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Alisson told reporters that not repeating last season is Liverpool’s main motivation.

“Last season we had a great experience, an almost perfect season. We lost one game and that one game was against City,” Alisson said. “We know how big this game is for us. We know how big the game is for everyone – for them and for our fans. In the end it is just three more important points but Manchester City have been the best team in the league for the last few years so we need to give everything to win this game.

“We don’t want to feel how we felt last season. Being second by just one point – and we don’t know which game made us lose the title because we had a few draws where we could have done better, and we had the loss away to Man City when we could have won or drawn – means we know that we need to give everything in every game if we want to become Premier League champions. We want it and we will try to do it.”

Liverpool’s haul of 97 points was incredible, as they came up one point short of Man City who sealed the title on the final day of the 2018-19 campaign after clawing back a seven-point deficit.

Liverpool lead second-place Man City by six points heading into this game.

City took four points from their games against Liverpool last season and you feel like they’ll have to at least match that this season to have any chance of climbing above Liverpool to win the title.

Alisson and Liverpool are the heavy favorites to win at Anfield on Sunday, with his Brazilian compatriot and fellow goalkeeper Ederson out injured, which adds to the defensive woes of Pep Guardiola‘s side.

That said, Man City’s attacking talents are clear for all to see and Alisson will have to be on top form on Sunday as Liverpool aim to go one better than last season.

Liverpool, Manchester United set for injury returns

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According to reports, both Manchester United and Liverpool are preparing to welcome back a number of important players from injury for their rivalry meeting at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Most notably, the Reds will reportedly have goalkeeper Alisson ready to take his place between the sticks, having missed nearly the entire season to this point with a calf injury. The Brazilian made it just 39 minutes into the Premier League opener against Norwich City before succumbing to injury, and Adrian has filled in since. While the Spaniard has played exceptionally well in his teammate’s stead, The Guardian reports that Alisson will take back his starting place no questions asked, having rigorously tested his injured leg with intensive training to make sure he is ready.

In addition to the Brazilian goalkeeper, Liverpool is also reportedly set to see Mohamed Salah prove fit to start despite his injury scare against Leicester City just before the international break.

For the hosts, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has received welcome news on a number of players prior to the matchup. Paul Pogba, who has missed three of the last four league matches and five of the last seven overall thanks to an ankle injury, is ready to go and will be available to start. The Mirror reports that Pogba spent much of the international break training in Dubai to aid in his recovery.

Also returning for Manchester United is Aaron Wan-Bissaka who has missed the last two Premier League matches with tonsillitis. It was reported that Wan-Bissaka was ready to return for the Newcastle match prior to the international break, but he missed out nonetheless and was absent from the England national team as well. Also reportedly returning is the oft-injured Luke Shaw who has not played since late August thanks to a hamstring problem.

Finally, Anthony Martial could be ready to return from his own hamstring injury. The report is that Martial would be in contention for a place in the Manchester United18-man squad, suggesting that he may need a match or two to regain full fitness for a starting spot but would be an option off the bench if needed.

Liverpool and Manchester United meet on Sunday for the 203rd time overall and 173rd time in the top flight, kicking off at 11:30 a.m. ET from Old Trafford. The matchup is significant for both sides as Liverpool looks to maintain its perfect record and eight point lead atop the Premier League table, while Manchester United is hoping for a boost from its vastly mediocre record to this point in the season, having recorded just two wins through the first eight matches.

Klopp: Alisson could start v. Leicester

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Liverpool could have their No. 1 back in goal as soon as this weekend, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

Brazilian star Alisson Becker has been out since suffering a calf injury during Liverpool’s Premier League opener on August 9 against Norwich City. Luckily for Liverpool, Adrian was available and he quickly deputized in the starting lineup and helped win the UEFA Super Cup. Now, ahead of Liverpool’s match against former manager Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City, there could be a change in goal.

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“With Alisson it’s still: maybe, maybe not,” Klopp said at a press conference Friday. “Yesterday he trained with the team [for the first time]. But if you know goalie sessions, they are often pretty more intense than the proper football sessions. He looked really good.

“We will see, I have to talk to different people before I make a decision about that.”

On paper, it’s a massive boost for the club to have its best goalkeeper back in full training this week and in contention to start against Leicester City. Alisson is arguably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, if not the world. In addition, his incredible performances, both in terms of making saves and commanding his box and backline, helped lead Liverpool to an incredible 97-point Premier League season last year.

However, Liverpool hasn’t really missed that much with Adrian in net instead. In Adrian’s ten games, nine starts, Liverpool has lost just one game, a 2-0 defeat to Napoli in Italy. Neither goal was really Adrian’s fault as well, so all in all, he’s been above average at worst and a solid goalkeeper.

Perhaps over the course of an entire season, the difference between Adrian and Alisson would be more noticeable, but for now, Liverpool has taken advantage of Adrian being available and has played very well in front of him.

Klopp says Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson close to return

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that first-choice goalkeeper Alisson is nearing a return to the club after missing the last five matches with a calf injury.

The Brazilian went down 39 minutes into the season opener against Norwich City and has been out of action since. Adrian has filled in admirably, with the club conceding just four goals in his five Premier League matches, spreading those four goals out across four matches along with one clean sheet.

“Ali looks like he is close, but the final word is with them,” Klopp said during his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s Premier League match against Sheffield United. “He is not in contention for tomorrow, maybe he can train with the team from Sunday onwards, but we don’t know 100 per cent. He is really close.”

The Liverpool boss said there has been no drop-off with Adrian in net, which has made Alisson’s absence easier to swallow and left them able to ease the Brazilian back into game action. “Adrian is doing a brilliant job and that makes everything easier, 100 per cent. It’s important with injuries that you don’t rush it, but if you have no other option in a position then sometimes you cut two or three days off the rehab time. We don’t like to take risks.”

Alisson was awarded the Best Goalkeeper award at the FIFA ceremony in late August, proving vital in his first season at the club as they won the Champions League crown. The Brazilian’s wonderful form not only in net but with the ball at his feet made him critical to the club’s success. Adrian has seen time since moving from West Ham, however, since moving from West Ham this summer to replace Simon Mignolet as Alisson’s backup. He saved Tammy Abraham‘s penalty to give Liverpool victory over Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup and has been quality in goal during Premier League play, helping Liverpool to top the table.

Premier League Preview: Burnley v. Liverpool

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Liverpool can set a club record with victory over Burnley as the two sides meet at Turf Moor on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com.

The Reds are gunning for 13 straight top-flight wins, something never been achieved before in the club’s history. Liverpool currently stands as the last remaining 100% league record in any of the top six tiers of English football.

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The last time Liverpool failed to record victory in top flight action was back in early March, a 0-0 draw with nearby rivals Everton at Goodison Park. Their last loss in Premier League play was all the way back in early January, a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City that famously featured a Liverpool goal ruled out by goal-line technology by the tiniest of margins, setting the stage for Man City’s ruthless run to the title.

The Reds are mostly healthy, with just Naby Keita and Alisson sidelined due to injury. The former is still recovering from a hip flexor strain and will reportedly not be fit until after the international break, while Liverpool’s first-choice goalkeeper is still on the mend with a calf problem that Klopp would not commit to a timetable, only saying Friday during his pre-match press conference that it is a “proper injury” and “it will take some time.”

Burnley will be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson, whose calf injury is less serious than initially feared but still troublesome enough to hold him out this weekend. Robbie Brady and Steven Defour are also likely missing from action for the Clarets. The start to the season has been a mixed bag for Burnley, who sit on one each of a win, loss, and draw in that order. A 1-1 result against a solid Wolves side last time out will prove promising, despite the match featuring two points dropped as the opponents scored deep into stoppage time to share the spoils.

However, an embarrassing loss to Sunderland in League Cup last time out will leave manager Sean Dyche looking for a reaction, with yet another defeat in league play turning what has been a fairly solid start to the season somewhat spoiled, while a shocking result against an in-form Liverpool side would provide a valuable spark. History is not on their side, having picked up just four of a possible 30 points all-time against Liverpool in Premier League play.


Injuries/suspensions

Burnley – OUT: Robbie Brady (rib), Steven Defour (calf). QUESTIONABLE: Johann Berg Gundmusson (calf).

Liverpool – OUT: Naby Keita (hip flexor), Alisson (calf).


What they’re saying

Burnley midfielder Jack Cork on playing the best teams: “It’s a good challenge and a good test. When you’re young and growing up you want to be playing against these sort of teams; you dream of playing for the Liverpools and Manchester Uniteds. It’s good to play them and say ‘I’m good enough to do this at this level.’ It’s good to test yourself against the best players in the world and there’s nothing better than the current European champions. You can’t look past that. We know it’s going to be a difficult game.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on previous confrontation with Sean Dyche: “Probably everybody will write that it didn’t look like Sean Dyche and I were best friends after the last game. It was an intense game, Joe Gomez got injured, we had a couple of discussions. But both coaching staff, myself and Joe are just proper competitors, so we don’t hide our emotions obviously. That can happen. But from my point of view, it was always completely respectful because I respect them and I respect Sean a lot, what he is doing there, to keep a team like Burnley really always on that level of motivation, determination and desire and all that stuff. It’s so difficult and they are doing that.”


Projected lineups:

Burnley: Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Lennon; Wood, Barnes.

Liverpool: Adrian; Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson; Mane, Firmino, Salah.


Prediction:

While Sean Dyche won’t face the same dilemma Arsenal botched last time Liverpool took the field in pushing full-backs further up the pitch, this is still a difficult game for Burnley in a slightly different sense. Sure, Liverpool doesn’t look as defensively hardened as they did last campaign, but this is still one of the best back lines in the European game, and Burnley’s attacking options aren’t up for the task. Unless Ashley Barnes can channel his good form to next-level heights, Burnley will fall 1-0 to a good Liverpool attack that will work hard to find a way through and hold firm once going in front.