Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has backed Alisson to be the Kop’s ‘new hero’ — despite his howler against Leicester City last week.
The Brazilian No.1 had been faultless since his arrival from Roma during the summer until he dallied on the ball to gift Rachid Ghezzal a simple tap-in, even though it proved merely a consolation for the Foxes in the Reds’ win.
Boss Jurgen Klopp was quick to defend his keeper, claiming that he’s “0.0% arrogant” and was particularly impressed with the reassuring way he dealt with his error.
Liverpool have won their first four matches of the season for the first time in 28 years and Alisson has played his part — making several key saves in the 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium.
“His calmness and presence are his big assets,” said Kirkland, who spent five seasons at Liverpool and has a Champions League winners’ medal.
“Nothing seems to faze him at all. He doesn’t over-react to any situation and he is level-headed. That seems to be his nature during an entire 90 minutes and that will stand him in good stead at Liverpool, where the pressure can be so intense.
“If he can solve what has been a problem area for the Reds — and I’m sure he can — then he will be the new hero.”
Asked if Alisson was the last piece of the Liverpool jigsaw in their quest to end a 28-year title wait, Kirkland — who is now goalkeeping coach at Liverpool Women — added: “Let’s hope so, I hope so. He has been brought in to do that.
“Obviously there have been a lot of players that have come in. We needed Virgil van Dijk in defence and he’s come in and made a huge, huge difference and that is what we all hope will happen with Alisson.”
But Kirkland agrees with Klopp that no goalkeeper is infallible and, despite his huge reputation and self-confidence, it will take time for Alisson to settle in at Anfield.
“He might have played for Roma and Brazil but I would argue that there is more scrutiny on him than ever,” the 37-year-old added. “Coming here and playing in front of the Kop is an eye-opener for him.
“The fans will take to him, he will be given all the support he needs and the club will just hope that he can bring them that steady reliance.
“He has played for some big teams and I’m sure he is excited to play for a massive club like this and we are all excited to see him.”
The clanger by Alisson at Leicester was still an unwanted reminder of what has been regarded as Klopp’s Achilles’ heel at Liverpool.
Until Alisson’s arrival, Reds fans had grown frustrated at the club’s inability to get a world-class goalkeeper. Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet had both been less than impressive in stints between the posts before Karius produced two huge errors in the 3-1 Champions League Final loss to Real Madrid in May.
Kirkland added: “We all know what has been going on for the last few years and, of course, swapping and changing is not ideal for the player or the club.
“You want consistency, you want to know who your No.1 is. As a goalkeeper you want to play as many times as you can to build up that trust with your backline, and that hasn’t happened.
“We saw that towards the end of last season when the gaffer decided Karius was first choice and it was a settled position with more clean sheets as a consequence. I just hope for Liverpool’s sake that he can answer that.
“It was a big call from the boss to make the change in the summer. It had to be done. It had been talked about a lot over the last few years. He is the manager and has to make those decisions.”