Alisson reveals hidden impact of Pep Guardiola that has benefited Liverpool

Liverpool’s Alisson Becker has opened up on how the impact Pep Guardiola had on him as a youngster helped turn him into one of the world’s best goalkeepers.

The Brazilian has been the Reds’ undisputed number one under Jurgen Klopp, making 168 appearances for the club since moving to Anfield for £67m from Roma in 2018. Despite competition from Manchester City’s Ederson, he is also first-choice for Brazil at International level.

Alisson became only the sixth non-outfield player to score a goal in the Premier League after netting a crucial winner in their 2-1 victory over West Brom in May 2021. But it is his shot-stopping abilities that make him recognised as one of the most difficult goalkeepers to get past in the world.

In particular, Alisson is credited as one of the finest distributors with the ball at his feet, and his comfort on the ball often helps Liverpool build out from the back. However, during his formative years in his native Brazil, he felt he had to improve that aspect of his game.

And now, the 29-year-old has lifted the lid on the work he had to do during his developing years at Internacional to become comfortable with the ball at his feet — crediting his former manager and also Guardiola as the main sources of inspiration for his turnaround.

“I think the big thing is having confidence. You get confidence from doing things, from playing,” Alisson told the club’s official website. “You need to have a team which likes to play with the goalkeeper as well and you need to have a manager who gives you the freedom to play because you can be good [for the team].

Pep Guardiola's influence helped Alisson become a world-class goalkeeper for Liverpool
Pep Guardiola’s influence helped Alisson become a world-class goalkeeper for Liverpool

“But if your players turn their back to you when you have the ball, you can only kick long balls and work like that. I have the skills that are needed but I worked a lot on it when I was playing for my youth team. I had a manager once who loved the [Pep] Guardiola team from Barcelona which used the goalkeeper a lot.

“So he tried to do that with his team in the U20s and it helped me a lot. Then I went to Rome and improved a little bit, but here at Liverpool is the place that I feel most comfortable because the players really want me to be an extra player on the pitch.”

Man City’s tactical master Guardiola might have been an influence early in his career. But Alisson has heaped praise upon his current boss Klopp for taking on a leading role since joining the club, detailing the moment that he met the German for the first time.

Alisson is renowned for having good distribution out from the back
Alisson is renowned for having good distribution out from the back

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“It is a really good relationship. He’s [Klopp] like a father to me,” he added. “When I spoke with him for the first time on a FaceTime video call, he just answered the call and started to smile, I started to smile and we could already see that we would have a connection.

“I think I have some feelings about life and how life works which are similar to him. I really like the way he works and the way he makes the team feel comfortable and at the same time puts pressure on us.

“He’s a guy who is always happy, but when you go onto the pitch it’s hard work, serious work and he’s a top manager, so all those things contribute to a good relationship. I really love to be here and working with him. I love my life here at Liverpool.”

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