I will not change, Alis­son vows after blun­der

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Sam Wal­lace at the King Power Stadium

Liver­pool goal­keeper Alis­son said he would learn from his mis­take in his team’s vic­tory over Le­ices­ter City that led to him be­ing dis­pos­sessed for Rachid Ghez­zal’s goal, but added that he would not change his ap­proach of play­ing with the ball at his feet.

The £67 mil­lion goal­keeper was robbed on 62 min­utes by Kelechi Iheana­cho, who crossed for Ghez­zal to score and set up a tense last half-hour with Liver­pool emerg­ing as 2-1 win­ners. Their first-half goals, from Sa­dio Mane and Roberto Firmino, were enough to take them back to the top of the Premier League.

Speak­ing to ESPN Brasil, Alis­son said that he would not be “stupid” and make the same mis­take twice, but the Brazilian in­sisted that it was part of his job to dis­trib­ute the ball with his feet. “I am an­gry that I made a mis­take that put the team in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. When one per­son makes a mis­take it af­fects ev­ery­one, and ev­ery­one fought back to­gether. We have to im­prove still, but the re­sult is what mat­ters at the mo­ment,” he said.

“It was bad judg­ment. I made a mis­take read­ing the play. I didn’t get a very good pass. We talked about that in the dress­ing room and I spoke to Vir­gil [van Dijk, who played the ball]. It wasn’t a good pass but I could have just kicked it long.

“I wanted to keep the pos­ses­sion. Now ev­ery­one is go­ing to an­a­lyse that. I’m not go­ing to be stupid and make the same mis­take. It is part of my game [play­ing with the ball at his feet], but I am not go­ing to be so ar­ro­gant to stand here and say, ‘I’m go­ing to keep do­ing it.’ We have to learn from our mis­takes.

“If it is nec­es­sary, the drib­ble has to be the last re­sort. Un­for­tu­nately it caused the goal. I ac­tu­ally think it was a foul but I don’t want to blame it on that. In the Premier League it’s not the kind of con­tact that re­sults in the game. It’s part of the game. I just have to make sure that doesn’t hap­pen again.”

Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp added: “Foot­ball is a game where a lot of mis­takes hap­pen. That was a big one be­cause we con­ceded a goal. It needs to hap­pen [in or­der] that it will not hap­pen again.”

It was a mis­take that ul­ti­mately had no bear­ing on the out­come, the £67mil­lion Alis­son dawdling by the goal-line and cough­ing up pos­ses­sion to the striker snap­ping at his heels, but given Liver­pool’s re­cent his­tory with fal­li­ble goalkeepers, it cer­tainly cast a shadow over a good day for Jur­gen Klopp’s team.

The Brazilian would later say that he did not think much of the pass from Vir­gil van Dijk that put him in that po­si­tion, and Klopp him­self won­dered if the pitch was not a lit­tle on the dry side. Sub­sti­tute Kelechi Iheana­cho came in to rough up the goal­keeper as he looked to turn out of trou­ble – a foul, Alis­son would later re­flect – and the ball was crossed back for Rachid Ghez­zal to score the first goal Liver­pool have con­ceded in four league games.

They have won four out of four, and this vic­tory took Klopp’s side back to the top of the Premier League for the time be­ing, their best start to a sea­son since 1990-1991 when Kenny Dal­glish was in charge in his first spell and the First Divi­sion cham­pi­onship resided at An­field. Ti­tle con­tenders in 2018? With­out a doubt, which is why they are be­ing scru­ti­nised for ev­ery pos­si­ble weak­ness, es­pe­cially those that they have paid hand­somely to erad­i­cate.

In all other de­part­ments Alis­son looked com­mand­ing, es­pe­cially when the tide turned against Liver­pool after a blis­ter­ing start. They scored through Sa­dio Mane on eight min­utes. Yet by the time that Roberto Firmino had added a sec­ond at the end of the first half, Claude Puel’s team were back in the game. Alis­son later said that he would not make the same mis­take again, and Klopp said that if there was a game to make one like that, this was it.

If Le­ices­ter had not stood off the vis­i­tors at the start, per­haps it could have been a dif­fer­ent story, but this re­mains a for­mi­da­ble Liver­pool side. Had Puel told his play­ers to tar­get Liver­pool’s goal­keeper when he de­lib­er­ated with the ball at his feet? “We have a say­ing in Nor­mandy, ‘Maybe, yes, maybe, no’,” said Le­ices­ter’s French man­ager, mak­ing you won­der how the Nor­mans ever reached a fi­nal con­sen­sus about in­vad­ing their English neigh­bours.

Puel’s team played with a lot more cer­tainty, and there were bright per­for­mances from the likes of James Mad­di­son and Nam­palys Mendy which filled their man­ager with hope.

They have won two and lost two – to Manch­ester United and now Liver­pool – and once again Puel’s sub­sti­tu­tions were booed by the home crowd, although there was prom­ise in the per­for­mance. In the ab­sence of the sus­pended Jamie Vardy, there was a start up front for De­marai Gray, and the pres­sure was on Liver­pool to the end. The away side had a fine per­for­mance from Joe Gomez, a cru­cial saving tackle in the sec­ond half on Mad­di­son one of the stand­outs.

The Alis­son mis­take gave Le­ices­ter hope, hav­ing fought their way back into a match in which they were by­passed in the early stages. Mo­hamed Salah missed a chance on three min­utes with just Kasper Sch­me­ichel to beat and, later sub­sti­tuted, the striker was not his usual self. Andy Robertson’s ball in­side from the left gave Mane the space to beat Harry Maguire and stroke a shot past Sch­me­ichel.

Hav­ing been over­run in the early stages, Le­ices­ter got back into it, tak­ing con­fi­dence from a mis­take by Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum mid­way through the first half from which they worked an open­ing. Mendy and Wil­fried Ndidi are a good cen­tral mid­field pair­ing, and the pace of full-backs Ben Chilwell and Roberto Pereira re­stricted Liver­pool’s at­tack. It was all the more rea­son for them to re­gret the James Mil­ner cor­ner that Firmino headed in rel­a­tively un­chal­lenged at the end of the first half. The rou­tine was well-worked, but with the likes of Maguire in de­fence, it should never have been con­ceded.

was Mil­ner’s 80th Premier League as­sist of his ca­reer, mak­ing him joint sev­enth in the all-time ta­ble with David Beck­ham.

It was a more pos­i­tive Le­ices­ter side in the sec­ond half. Puel was booed for sub­sti­tut­ing Mad­di­son as he had been when he took off Marc Al­brighton ear­lier. In be­tween came the goal con­ceded by Liver­pool, a bad back­pass from Van Dijk that Alis­son lin­gered on far too long. In came Iheana­cho to whip the ball away and his cross was fin­ished by Ghez­zal, the £6 mil­lion sign­ing from Monaco to re­place Riyad Mahrez. It pre­cip­i­tated a scram­ble at the end, with Jor­dan Hen­der­son re­placed by Naby Keita and Xher­dan Shaqiri com­ing on for Salah as Klopp tried to reignite his team. The Liver­pool man­ager de­scribed the goal as a mis­take that had to be made at some point if, for noth­ing else, to teach his play­ers that they could not just as­sume that their goal­keeper was an easy out­let ev­ery time they found them­selves un­der the kind of pres­sure Le­ices­ter ap­plied.

“We all have to learn to use him [Alis­son] in the right way, which means pass the ball in the right mo­ment and im­me­di­ately make an­other of­fer for him, some pass­ing op­tions – what­ever,” Klopp said. “Foot­ball is a game where mis­takes hap­pen. That was a big one be­cause we con­ceded a goal. The re­ac­tion was bril­liant. I am com­pletely fine. It needs to hap­pen that it will not hap­pen again. That was the day to­day.”

Klopp was also asked what he made of Jose Mour­inho’s sug­ges­tion that man­agers such as him – who had won noth­ing out­side their own coun­try – were sub­ject to less crit­i­cism. In­trigued, Klopp’s re­ac­tion was that the Manch­ester United man­ager was “right, ab­so­lutely”. “He is prob­a­bly the most suc­cess­ful man­ager in the Premier League at the mo­ment. I have no prob­lem with that,” he said. “I don’t watch Jose Mour­inho press con­fer­ences – should I? I will start do­ing that.”

On his knees: Alis­son shows re­morse after be­ing dis­pos­sessed for Le­ices­ter’s goal

Hit men: Liver­pool scor­ers Sa­dio Mane and Roberto Firmino

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