Alisson: Anfield atmosphere in Champions League semi-final sweetened me on Liverpool

Alisson has revealed how last season’s Champions League trip to Anfield lit the fuse for what has become a world-record transfer to Liverpool.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper penned a long-term contract with the Premier League side on Thursday after Roma agreed to sell him for an initial £56 million ($73m) fee.

That price confirmed his status as the most expensive keeper of all-time and could yet rise a further £9m depending on performance-related clauses.

Jurgen Klopp described the Brazil international as “one of the world’s best” despite seeing his side put seven goals past him over the two legs of last season’s Champions League semi-final.

Though a 5-2 defeat at Anfield effectively ended Roma’s hopes of making it to Kiev, Alisson described his memories of the April clash on Merseyside as forming part of his decision to sign for Klopp’s men.

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“Yes, in part it did influence the decision,” he told Liverpool’s official website.

“When you make an important decision like this it’s not just a decision to change clubs, it practically changes your entire life, my family’s life, my wife, my daughter.

“That game definitely did have an influence but I also watched other games. I’ve seen other games where I could see the way Klopp had the team playing.

“That has made me really excited to be part of this group.”

The goalkeeper will be reunited with former Roma team-mate Mohamed Salah, who was anxious to see the keeper join, along with international team-mate Roberto Firmino. 

Alisson, who had a previous spell with Internacional in his homeland, started each of Brazil’s five matches at the World Cup in Russia.

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Transfer news & rumours LIVE: PSG willing to sell Neymar to Real Madrid


PSG willing to sell Neymar


Paris Saint-Germain no longer consider Neymar untouchable in the face of a possible huge offer from Real Madrid for the Brazil superstar, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is thought to value Neymar above all else, and new PSG boss Thomas Tuchel would use the money to reinforce multiple positions in his side.

The only PSG player considered off-limits by the Ligue 1 winners is teenage star Kylian Mbappe.


Willian still wants to quit Chelsea despite Sarri appointment


Chelsea attacker Willian still wants to depart the club this summer, despite the appointment of Maurizio Sarri, reports the Sun.

Willian fell out with previous Blues boss Antonio Conte, so the club’s officials hoped Sarri’s hiring and playing philosophy would tempt the winger to stay.

However, Willian has already had his head turned by talk of a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho talking to him during the World Cup about joining the La Liga champions.


Pavard to join Bayern Munich


Benjamin Pavard has agreed to join Bayern Munich from Stuttgart in 2019, according to SWR Sport.

The France international has a release clause of €35 million (£31m/$41m) which will become valid in 2019, which is considered will below his market value.

Stuttgart and Bayern are discussing a possible exit this summer with Stuttgart receiving a larger fee for Pavard’s immediate departure.


Reyes draws interest from Premier League clubs


Mexico international Diego Reyes has drawn interest from West Ham and Newcastle, reports Sky Sports.

The defender’s contract with Porto has expired, meaning he can join any side on free transfer, with Turkish club Fenerbache having made an offer for Reyes.


Everton want part-exchange for Zaha


Everton are hoping to do a cash plus player swap to land Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha, according to the Mirror.

Everton, along with West Ham, have refused Palace’s £60 million asking price but the Toffees are hoping to include former Palace player Yannick Bolasie in a swap.

Borussia Dortmund are also interested in Zaha, who is ready to move on from the club this summer.


Wenger becomes Japan’s No.1 target


Arsene Wenger is the top choice of the Japanese Football Association to take over the national team head coaching job, reports the Daily Mail.

Wenger managed in Japan with the club Nagoya Grampus Eight prior to joining Arsenal and remains a popular figure in the country.

While Wenger prefers club football, his opportunities at that level appear limited to China, which may lead him to taking Japan’s offer.


Donnarumma on Chelsea three-man shortlist


AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma has been added to a three-man shortlist of goalkeepers Chelsea want to replace Thibaut Courtois, reports the Evening Standard.

Courtois is expected to leave for Real Madrid once the Blues have lined up a replacement, and Donnarumma joins Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel and former Blues keeper Petr Cech on that list.

Milan are interested in Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, and while it’s possible both players will switch teams, it is unlikely it will be done in a straight swap.


Navas willing to battle Courtois


Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas is willing to stay and fight for his place amid the likely arrival of Thibaut Courtois, reports AS.

While Navas has lost two major allies in former manager Zinedine Zidane and goalkeeping coach Luis Llopis, the Costa Rica international has no plans to ask for a transfer.

Madrid are open to keeping Navas around due to his service to the club, though Kiko Casilla and Luca Zidane would be likely to be moved on.


Everton make £14m Digne offer


Everton are targeting Barcelona full-back Lucas Digne and made £14 million ($18m) offer, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Digne is among the players Barcelona are considering moving on this summer, along with Andre Gomes, Rafinha, Marlon and Aleix Vidal.

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West Ham make £20m Vida offer


West Ham have jumped ahead of Premier League rivals Everton in the hunt to sign Croatia defender Domagoj Vida, according to Milliyet.com.

The Hammers have made an offer to Besiktas of £20 million ($26m) for Vida, and are willing to pay much of that money up front.

The defender has a contract until 2022, with the club hierarchy meeting to decide whether or not to cash in on Vida.

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‘What are you waiting for?’ – Alisson reveals Salah texts that convinced him to join Liverpool

New Liverpool signing Alisson has revealed former Roma team-mate Mohamed Salah sent him text messages encouraging him to complete a move to Anfield.

Alisson’s arrival on Merseyside was confirmed on Thursday for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper that could rise to £65 million (€73m/$85m).

The 25-year-old shared a dressing room with Salah at the Stadio Olimpico during the 2016-17 campaign before the Egypt international departed for Liverpool, where he was a revelation last season.

And Alisson says Salah made contact when speculation grew over a potential move.

“We didn’t have that much contact after he left Roma,” Alisson told Liverpool’s official website. “We met again in the game when we were up against each other [in the Champions League in April]..

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“Yesterday, he sent me a message saying: ‘Hey, what are you waiting for?’ As the negotiations were at an advanced stage, I replied to him straight away saying: ‘Calm down, I’m on my way!’

“I’m really happy to have the opportunity to play alongside him again. As well as being a great player, he is a huge character and a great person – which is the most important thing.

“To be with these great people and players day to day is fantastic for me.”

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Liverpool complete record £65m signing of Alisson from Roma

Liverpool have completed the £65million (€73m/$85m) signing of Alisson Becker from Roma.

The Brazilian has signed a six-year deal at Anfield and becomes the most expensive goalkeeper in history by doing so.

He is the Reds’ fourth signing of what is becoming an impressive summer for Jurgen Klopp’s side, joining Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri in moving to Merseyside.

Liverpool identified the 25-year-old as their preferred choice to be the club’s No.1 last season, and worked hard this summer to thrash out a deal with Roma, who were reluctant to lose one of their star men to the Reds for the second year in a row. Indeed, the £36.9m deal which took Mohamed Salah to Anfield last summer was discussed during the clubs’ negotiations for this deal.

The Italians’ initial asking price of £90m, quoted to Liverpool back in January, was seen as excessive but it was made clear in the past month that the Serie A club would settle for a deal closer to £75m, and that the player was keen on a move to Merseyside.

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Talks progressed quickly this week as Liverpool sought to head off competition from Chelsea, with a deal agreed as the Londoners waited to sell Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid. Anfield sources have told Goal that Liverpool will pay £56m up front for Alisson, with £2.2m of that going to his former club, Internacional.

A further £9m could be paid in add-ons, which are dependant on Champions League qualification as well as Premier League and European wins.

Upon signing with the Reds, Alisson told the club’s official website: “I’m really happy, it’s a dream come true to wear such a prestigious shirt for a club of this size that is used to always winning.

“In terms of my life and my career, it’s a huge step for me being part of this club and this family.

“You can be certain that I’ll give my all.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was pleased with the signing, saying he needed to have a conversation with the club’s owners but they were on board with the move.

“At one point in the last few weeks it came up, the opportunity to sign one of the world’s best goalkeepers – then it’s not a long thought, to be honest, it’s only that you need to have a little talk with the owners!” Klopp told the club’s website. “They were quite excited, so we did it.”

However, Klopp dismissed concerns over Alisson’s price, citing the realities of the market. 

“I think it’s something we have to do,” he added. “He has nothing to do with the price, we have nothing to do with the price, it’s the market, that’s how it is and we will not think a lot about it.

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“It shows the value of goalkeepers, of course, in this moment. It will happen a lot in the next few weeks I guess and that’s it, so we are really happy to have him here now.”

Liverpool will this weekend fly to the United States where they will play three games in the International Champions Cup. Alisson is expected to join up with his new team-mates, including Brazilian colleague Roberto Firmino, upon their return.

Klopp’s men will travel to France for a short training camp upon their return from America before friendlies against Napoli and Torino. They begin their Premier League campaign on August 12 at home to West Ham.

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‘The Messi of goalkeepers!’ – £65m superstar Alisson makes Liverpool title challengers

Alisson Becker doesn’t make many mistakes. However, shortly after joining Roma, he appeared on a Brazilian talk show and was asked if he had learned any Italian swear words. 

“I said some terrible things without realising how bad they were,” the goalkeeper admitted. “Once I did know, it was too late!”

Alisson would have been forgiven for relying almost exclusively on swear words during his first, frustrating year in the Italian capital. 

Despite his arrival from childhood club Internacional in 2016 as Brazil’s first-choice goalkeeper, then Roma coach Luciano Spalletti stuck with Wojciech Szczesny as his No.1. 

That would have irked many goalkeepers. Alisson, though, preferred to look on the bright side.

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“It did feel a little lonely at first, but then I got to spend more time with my wife,” he explained. “She was pregnant and so I got to focus less on my career.

“I worked hard in training and learned a lot alongside a great goalkeeper like Szczesny.”

Restricted only to appearances in the cup competitions, Alisson’s lack of game time became a major talking point in Brazil, with many pundits arguing that Ederson should be the Selecao’s No.1. 

Alisson, though, never let Brazil down, conceding just three goals in 11 appearances in the World Cup qualifiers under new coach Tite. As a result, he never felt compelled to go running to either Spalletti or the press to complain about his situation at the Stadio Olimpico.

“I wasn’t playing much due to the coach’s decision but I am a calm boy and I don’t like talking,” he confessed. “I didn’t feel comfortable going to him and saying things because he chose to have two high-level keepers and he played me in the cups.

“He used meritocracy because Szczesny had done well during the first year but let’s say that I learned to have a bit of patience.”

However, Alisson knew that with a World Cup year approaching, he needed to be playing regular league football to fend off the intense competition he was under for his Selecao shirt from Manchester City ace Ederson.

Consequently, he seriously considered a move elsewhere until it emerged that Szczesny was off to Juventus last season.

“I didn’t want to leave, but I would have had to think of myself and my targets,” he reasoned. “Nobody in Brazil, in a World Cup year, has a guaranteed place.”

Alisson Messi PS

Despite Ederson’s excellence in England, there was never any danger of Alisson losing his place in Brazil’s starting line-up for Russia 2018. He wasn’t just the best goalkeeper in Italy last season; he was the best in the world. 

Spalletti’s successor, Eusebio Di Francesco, knew from the moment he first saw Alisson in action at Trigoria last summer that he was something special.

“I was stunned by his presence and the calmness he brought to the entire team,” he enthused. 

Alisson vindicated his new coach’s faith in him by playing a pivotal part in Roma’s remarkable 2017-18 campaign, which saw the Giallorossi  finish third in Serie A and, even more impressively, reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Indeed, Alisson made a whopping 155 saves in all competitions last season – only overworked Verona goalkeeper Nicolas made more across Europe’s big-five leagues. The Brazilian also boasted the third-best save percentage (79.26) across the continent, just below those of Manchester United No.1 David De Gea (80.28%) and Jan Oblak (82.68%). 

However, his distribution stats were of greater significance, as Alisson has always been a fine shot-stopper. When he first broke into the Brazil squad, the one major criticism levelled at him was that he was poor with the ball at his feet.
 
Last term, no goalkeeper completed more sweeper-keepings (51) in all competitions, while only Gianluigi Donnarumma (1135) racked up more successful passes than Alisson (1125). 

Alisson Karius Stats PS

In essence, he is now the modern goalkeeper that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was hoping Loris Karius would develop into. 

The pair do share one thing in common, in that both have previously attracted attention for their good looks. Alisson, ‘ O Goleiro Gato ’ (‘The Handsome Goalkeeper’) as he is known in Brazil, proved so popular with the ladies back home that his wife once had to show off her own goalkeeping skills.

“We had just won the title and went to a restaurant to celebrate with other team-mates and their families,” he revealed. “There were many fans outside the entrance and some of the girls grabbed my backside: my wife was parrying everyone’s hands!”

Eventually, though, it was Europe’s top clubs who tried to get their hands on Alisson not only because of his ability, but also his composure and presence.

But it was Liverpool who won the race for the Brazilian, completing a record £65m move for the 25-year-old. Whereas Karius has never instilled confidence in those around him at Anfield, Alisson exudes self-belief. 

“The way he behaves in the goal, he reminds me of Dino Zoff,” enthused former Roma coach Roberto Negrisolo. “I’d also compare him to Michel Preud-Homme, who had the class of someone born to be a goalkeeper.

“I told Alisson when I met him at Roma’s Trigoria ground that he was born for this. He was already strong when he arrived, but has improved even more since he has been in Italy.”

This is a self-confessed perfectionist who works tirelessly to eradicate every perceived flaw in his game in order to become the very best goalkeeper he can be and, as he underlined with expletive-laden appearance on Brazilian TV, he is a pretty fast learner.

At 25, he only going to get better and, as Ederson proved after succeeding Claudio Bravo as Manchester City’s No.1 last season, signing a great goalkeeper can be the difference between a top-four finish and winning the title. Signing Alisson could be that decisive a move for Liverpool.

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The fee is a record for a goalkeeper but, as Negrisolo reasoned, “I don’t think many people have realised who Alisson is. This guy is a phenomenon. He is the number one of number ones.

“He is the Messi of goalkeepers, because he has the same mentality as Messi. He is a goalkeeper who can define an era.”

If he doesn’t do so at Anfield, it will be Klopp turning the air blue with swear words.

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