Alis­son braced for phys­i­cal bat­tle

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer - ANDY HUNTER

Sel­hurst Park Crys­tal Palace v Liver­pool Sky Sports Main Event, kick-off 8.00pm

Jür­gen Klopp be­lieves new Liver­pool goal­keeper Alis­son will not have to trans­form his game to adapt to the Premier League but he does face a dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal test at Crys­tal Palace tonight.

The Brazil in­ter­na­tional en­joyed a com­fort­able de­but against West Ham but has been pre­par­ing for the chal­lenge posed by Chris­tian Ben­teke and com­pany at Sel­hurst Park. John Achter­berg, Liver­pool’s goal­keep­ing coach, has used rugby tackle bags on the £65 mil­lion goal­keeper dur­ing in­ten­sive train­ing ses­sions at Mel­wood that have also in­volved play­ers crowd­ing the penalty area on set-pieces.

“It is not rugby, it is goal­keeper train­ing,” the Liver­pool man­ager ex­plained.

“When Loris [Kar­ius] came, he did it and, of course, Alis­son is do­ing it as well. It is nor­mal goal­keeper train­ing. It makes sense to do it be­cause the six-yard area is not a safety box for a goal­keeper.

“We have these sit­u­a­tions in train­ing con­stantly when we do set-pieces and the box is full with 22 play­ers. Maybe 22 is a bit much, but cer­tainly 15. It is busy, we do it of­ten so that the goal­keeper gets used to that.

“It is all about tim­ing. We will see how that is, but first of all we brought him here be­cause of the things that he is al­ready good at.”

Change com­pletely

The 25-year-old ar­rived from Roma dur­ing the sum­mer and is Brazil’s first-choice goal­keeper. “It is not that the goal­keeper has to change com­pletely for this league,” added Klopp.

“We have to help him too in sit­u­a­tions. There is not just one player re­spon­si­ble for some­thing – we have to have the right for­ma­tion around set-pieces. It is not solely about Alis­son, but the whole team.”

Klopp in­sists the same prin­ci­ple ap­plies to deal­ing with Wil­fried Zaha. Trent Alexander-Arnold will be up against the Palace winger, who signed a new five-year con­tract with the club last week, and the Liver­pool man­ager be­lieves there is a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to pre­vent the prob­lems that Zaha caused the right-back last sea­son.

The Liver­pool man­ager added: “He [Zaha] will not be the last who will do that. That’s how life is on this planet. Al­ready in the Premier League I can­not see bad wingers. Zaha is ex­cep­tional, that’s true. If you leave any full-back alone, no­body’s able to de­fend Zaha, but we will not do that.

Good idea

“When we played Manch­ester United last sea­son José Mour­inho thought it was a good idea to bring [Mar­cus] Rash­ford on that wing and he played pretty well that day, but it’s all part of [Alexander-Arnold’s] de­vel­op­ment. No prob­lem with that.

“We will not change any­thing be­cause of an old story last year. Since then, he’s im­proved not only one step but I don’t know how many steps.

“That doesn’t mean from now on he will only have per­fect per­for­mances, but it’s all part of his de­vel­op­ment.

“We work on that, we talk the right things, but we will not re­mind him about what­ever hap­pened that day. I will not re­mind him.”

‘‘ If you leave any full-back alone, no­body’s able to de­fend Zaha, but we will not do that

PHO­TO­GRAPH: REUTERS/AN­DREW YATES

Liver­pool ex­pect new goal­keeper Alis­son to face a dif­fer­ent phys­i­cal test tonight.

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