Jurgen Klopp paid Alisson Becker the ultimate tribute after admitting he would have ‘paid double’ to bring the Brazil international’s match defining saving to Anfield.
Alisson cost Liverpool £65million when he arrived from Roma in July; it was a world record fee for less than two weeks but, already, he has already repaid that transfer fee with an extraordinary last-minute save from Arkadiusz Milik propelled Liverpool into the Champions League knockout phase.
His 12th clean sheet of the season proved to be crucial as Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Napoli was enough to see them progress and an exultant Klopp was over the moon with the 26-year-old, who has made a huge difference to the team.
Klopp, whose team had lost all three of their Champions League fixtures away from home, said:
‘If I knew Alisson was this good – I would have paid double. Wow, what a game. I am not sure a manager could be prouder of a team than I am.
‘The only good thing about the first game at Napoli (when they lost 1-0) was that we were our ugly brothers and it wasn’t us at all. We had an opportunity to show more than we did in Italy and the boys played an outstanding game.
‘The way we pressed them meant they had to change their game and they had no real key for us. Mo Salah scored an unbelievable goal and I have no idea how Alisson made a save like this, it was amazing.’
Andy Robertson, one of Liverpool’s standout performers, was equally impressed with Alisson and said:
‘We knew we had to get a fast start and that’s what we did. At 0-0 they had nothing to lose and they threw up their centre-back. It was an unbelievable save from Alisson.
‘But to get 1-0 up we were confident we would keep a clean sheet and thankfully that’s what we did.’
Liverpool had many chances to win by a bigger margin and Klopp said:
‘We could have scored more, but the last chance Sadio Mane had made no difference in the standings.
‘It was wild and there were lots of counter attacks but we were ready for that. That is Anfield live and in colour.
‘UEFA probably thought they could continue the competition without Liverpool, but not yet. I said if we went out, it wouldn’t have been tonight, it would have been in Napoli when we deserved to lose, but tonight we deserved to win.’