Alisson was transfer bargain and stats only further highlight class


August 4 marks two years exactly since Liverpool fans first saw Alisson Becker in action.

His debut – non-competitively – came against Napoli in Aviva Stadium in Dublin in a 5-0 victory, and the upgrade was immediately clear. Liverpool fans knew they were getting a game-changer.

At the time, Italian football writer James Horncastle wrote for the BBC: “Liverpool’s decision to invest up to 75 million (£66.8 million) in Alisson looks an expensive one, because it goes against the conventional wisdom.

“This is the kind of money clubs are supposed to invest in goalscorers, not goalkeepers.

“But, judging by Alisson’s performances for Roma last season, it seems entirely fair. The Brazil international wasn’t just considered the best player in his position in Serie A, but the best in any position, such was his influence on Roma’s play and results.”

Some might have questioned how much a goalkeeper could actually improve a team at the time, but the two years that have elapsed since his arrival have only further underlined that point.

But there is something else, too, that proves how well Liverpool did in the transfer market. At the time that the Reds were chasing Alisson, Chelsea were interested too, only to end up signing Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao, for a fee of about £71 million.

Just days after Alisson had broken the world record fee for a goalkeeper, which had stood since Gigi Buffon moved to Juventus in 2001, it was broken again.

This season, though, the statistics show a stark difference between the pair.

Alisson was in contention for the Premier League’s Golden Glove up until the final couple of matches of the season, despite having missed nine matches through injury and suspension.

In the Premier League, over two seasons, he has kept a clean sheet more often than he has conceded in a game, and has let in a total of just 45 goals in 67 appearances.

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Chelsea conceded 54 league goals last season alone, finishing in the top four despite, rather than because of, their defence.

On the latest Analysing Anfield podcast, Josh Williams said: “Chelsea need a new goalkeeper. We’ll start with save percentage: this season, in terms of shots on target against, Kepa has faced 99 shots on target and has only saved 55 of them.

“That leaves a save percentage of about 55 per cent, which is comfortably the worst in the league. Jordan Pickford is next on 63.4 per cent – about nine per cent better.

“In terms of expected goals, Kepa this season has conceded about 9.2 goals more than he should have, according to post-shot expected goals.

“What that means, basically, is that if Chelsea had a bang-average goalkeeper, they would have conceded about nine goals less, which is quite incredible.

Hugo Lloris has prevented an additional nine goals being conceded by Spurs, so that’s an 18-goal swing.”

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