Jamie Carragher says Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker can rival Manchester United’s David De Gea as the Premier League’s best.
Alisson’s stunning stoppage-time save ensured Liverpool progressed to the Champions League knock-out stages in midweek, and speaking ahead of Sunday’s meeting between the two goalkeepers at Anfield, Reds legend Carragher insists the Brazilian international is overtaking De Gea as the division’s finest.
“For the last three years this title has been David De Gea’s. The performance he gave away at Arsenal last season was the best I have ever seen from a goalkeeper,” Carragher told The Telegraph.
“Without De Gea, Manchester United’s decline since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson would be steeper, yet he arrives at Anfield on Sunday with his position as the Premier League number one under threat, not just because of Alisson’s recent form, but the Spanish goalkeeper’s dip.
“United look as though they will miss out on Champions League qualification in 2019. One of the reasons they are already fighting to stay in contention is De Gea has not been playing to the same high standard. He was getting his underperforming team out of trouble. It is not happening now.
“The statistics make alarming reading for United fans. Last season De Gea conceded 28 goals to help United finished second. He has been beaten 26 times already.
“His shot-to-save ratio put him at number one with 80.3 per cent a year ago. Now he is 11th, stopping 67.5 per cent of efforts against him.
“Contrast this with Alisson. Liverpool’s keeper is currently rewriting record books, topping the charts with his save ratio. He has ten clean sheets in 16 matches. In games against Everton, Burnley and, most spectacularly, Napoli, Alisson produced the kind of save we have been accustomed to from De Gea. It was the timing that made them so good: valuable contributions at big moments.
“There have been some excellent goalkeepers at Liverpool during the last 30 years, Pepe Reina being the best I played with. He won the Premier League’s ‘Golden Glove’ for the most clean sheets in three successive years and was an essential part of a strong defence under Rafa Benitez.
“But in the era of Petr Cech and Edwin Van Der Sar, we never claimed to have the league’s best. We never had a keeper who our rivals wished they had signed.
“It is a cliche when discussing teams capable of winning the Premier League to acclaim ‘the final piece of the jigsaw’, but whether Liverpool stay ahead of Manchester City or not, Alisson has taken Jurgen Klopp’s side to the next level – his performances already worth at least six points after half a season. Probably more.”
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