Sunday 20 October 2019

Alisson Becker saved Liverpool – if I knew he was this good I would have paid double, says Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool's Alisson in action. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Liverpool's Alisson in action. Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, said he would have paid Roma double the fee to secure the services of Alisson Becker after the goalkeeper kept their Champions League campaign alive on Tuesday night.

Liverpool dominated the game, and should have won by more, but needed a world-class save from the £56 million Brazilian in the 92nd minute to progress into the knockout stages. Alisson’s reflexes to deny Arkadiusz Milik left an impression as lingering as Mohamed Salah’s winning goal.

“If I knew Alisson was this good, I would have paid double,” said Klopp. “The save ‘Ali’ made, I have no words. It was a lifesaver. He did it. I never saw something similar.

“It was not only one save. He helped us a lot. That save was just incredible, but the boys did it together. He still needs the others, so he does not have to make 100 saves like that.

“I am still full of adrenalin. This game was amazing, unbelievable. The boys played with their whole heart. Our offensive, defensive and pressing was some of the best I ever saw. The intensity we played with was difficult to play against.

“Yes we could have scored more. The most difficult period was just after the 1-0. That made the game intense. We knew we could not change the tactics. After 65 minutes, it was really wild, counter and counter without finishing. I am really proud of what the boys did.”

Klopp said his side were unrecognisable from the defeat in Naples. He could have added Belgrade, where his side suffered the loss that put them in such a precarious position.

“The only good thing from the first game is Napoli could not know who we really are, because that was not us,” said Klopp. “It was someone else. We could have had a six-hour meeting about that game. We decided to forget about it. We did everything we had to do. Thank you Anfield. It was unbelievable. It was just so special.”

After finishing second behind Paris St-Germain, Liverpool are sure of a tricky last-16 draw. Given how close they were to elimination, Klopp was unperturbed.

“Until 7.55pm I could not be sure we would be in the draw. Now, I do not care [who we play],” he said. “We have such a long season. Until February we have about 30 games, so hopefully we have a healthy squad and have a formation.”

For Carlo Ancelotti, it was a case of what might have been, although he said Virgil van Dijk deserved a red card in the first half for a challenge on Dries Mertens.

“I think it was a red card. There are a lot of questions about VAR. When it comes to the Champions League it is too late,” said the Napoli manager.

“We knew Liverpool would put us under a lot more pressure, their intensity would be different. You can’t expect to come to a place like Liverpool and create 10 good chances. We created one or two.

“It seems Napoli have come very close but not far enough. Overall we did well in an extremely difficult group. It is a shame our efforts have not been rewarded.”

Liverpool defender Joel Matip gave the club a scare after the game when he was taken to hospital to assess a shoulder injury.

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