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Alisson was outstanding for Liverpool last season and Adrian has some big gloves to fill

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Alisson topped the charts for clean sheets, fewest goals conceded and save percentage in the Premier League last season… Adrian has some big gloves to fill in his injury absence

  • Liverpool have been dealt a blow by goalkeeper Alisson’s calf injury 
  • Brazilian stopper is set to be sidelined until the end of September with the issue
  • Alisson enjoyed a storming first season at Anfield after £65m move from Roma
  • He helped them to Champions League glory, making vital saves in the final
  • Alisson topped a number of stats tables with his Premier League displays
  • New boy Adrian will have to perform well in his absence in the coming weeks 

As Liverpool try and figure out what extra they need to do in order to usurp Manchester City this season, they have already been dealt a big blow.

The news that their goalkeeper Alisson Becker will be sidelined for ‘a few weeks’ with a calf injury will be met with a quiet consternation at Anfield.

The Brazilian will likely be out of action until the end of September, missing key Premier League fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea, plus the beginning of their Champions League defence.

Liverpool have been dealt a blow with goalkeeper Alisson sidelined for a number of weeks

Liverpool have been dealt a blow with goalkeeper Alisson sidelined for a number of weeks

The Brazilian keeper suffered a calf problem during Friday's season opener against Norwich

The Brazilian keeper suffered a calf problem during Friday's season opener against Norwich

The Brazilian keeper suffered a calf problem during Friday’s season opener against Norwich

It falls to Adrian, recently signed from West Ham, to cover for Alisson in the weeks to come

It falls to Adrian, recently signed from West Ham, to cover for Alisson in the weeks to come

It falls to Adrian, recently signed from West Ham, to cover for Alisson in the weeks to come

Games he could miss 

Premier League unless stated

Wednesday Chelsea (Istanbul)

UEFA Super Cup

Saturday Southampton (A)

August 24 Arsenal (H)

August 31 Burnley (A)

September 14 Newcastle United (H)

September 17-18 Champions League matchday one

September 22 Chelsea (A)

While Adrian, signed on a free from West Ham earlier this month, will provide decent cover, a delve into Alisson’s stats from last season reveals just how much they could miss him.

Though Liverpool had to stump up £65million, a world record for a goalkeeper, to sign Alisson from Roma in the summer of 2018, Jurgen Klopp knew it was a necessary outlay.

The club had often been let down by a string of unreliable keepers, latterly Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet, and it needed addressing if they wanted to properly challenge for major honours.

The arrival of Alisson cured these ills in a stroke, his debut season at Anfield a masterclass in consistency between the posts.

An ever-present in Liverpool’s Premier League and Champions League games during 2018-19, Alisson kept 21 clean sheets in 38 league matches, topping the list just ahead of City’s Ederson.

Alisson made a series of crucial saves in the Champions League final win over Tottenham

Alisson made a series of crucial saves in the Champions League final win over Tottenham

Alisson made a series of crucial saves in the Champions League final win over Tottenham

His performance allowed Liverpool to weather a spell of intense second-half pressure

His performance allowed Liverpool to weather a spell of intense second-half pressure

His performance allowed Liverpool to weather a spell of intense second-half pressure 

The keeper hugs the European Cup following Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Spurs in Madrid

The keeper hugs the European Cup following Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Spurs in Madrid

The keeper hugs the European Cup following Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Spurs in Madrid

Alisson, with winners medal in mouth, calls his family during the post-match celebrations

Alisson, with winners medal in mouth, calls his family during the post-match celebrations

Alisson, with winners medal in mouth, calls his family during the post-match celebrations

PREMIER LEAGUE CLEAN SHEETS 2018-2019 SEASON 
Goalkeeper Clean sheets
Alisson 21
Ederson 20
Jordan Pickford 14
Kepa Arrizabalaga 14
Hugo Lloris 12

His concession of 22 league goals was the lowest of any keeper in the English top-flight, though a certain Dutch defender called Virgil van Dijk, also a necessary expense, might argue he played a part.

In those 38 matches, Alisson faced 96 shots on target and saved 77.1 per cent of them – again the highest return of any Premier League keeper.

But it wasn’t just his shot-stopping that impressed. Alisson’s distribution was often vital in setting Liverpool flying forward on the attack.

He played a total of 1,076 passes, of which 864 reached their intended destination for a return of 80.3 per cent. Only Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga and Ederson had a superior accuracy when it came to playing the ball out.

Little wonder Van Dijk described Alisson as ‘maybe the best goalkeeper in the world right now’ and questioned why he hadn’t been included in FIFA’s 10-man shortlist for The Best award.

Alisson and Virgil van Dijk formed a formidable defensive partnership last season

Alisson and Virgil van Dijk formed a formidable defensive partnership last season

Alisson and Virgil van Dijk formed a formidable defensive partnership last season

The pair celebrate Liverpool's thrilling comeback victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals

The pair celebrate Liverpool's thrilling comeback victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals

The pair celebrate Liverpool’s thrilling comeback victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals

PREMIER LEAGUE SAVE STATS 2018-19 (minimum five games) 
Goalkeeper Appearances Shots on target faced Save percentage
Alisson 38 96 77.1
Petr Cech 7 37 75.7
Hugo Lloris 38 133 75.2
Vicente Guaita 20 86 73.3
Lukasz Fabianski 38 200 72.5

Alisson was precisely the kind of goalkeeper Van Dijk wanted positioned behind him and vice versa and the pair worked brilliantly in tandem in what proved a memorable season for Liverpool.

The Brazilian made a number of crucial saves as Tottenham pressed for an equaliser in the second-half of the Champions League final.

Certain xG measures also say that Alisson’s efforts gained Liverpool 13.5 additional points last season, helping take their title tussle with City to the final afternoon.

While Klopp was keen to extol the virtues of Adrian ahead of Liverpool’s Super Cup meeting with Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday night, there will be understandable worries.

For one thing, he didn’t play in the Premier League at all last season, with West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini favouring Lukasz Fabianski.

PREMIER LEAGUE GOALS CONCEDED 2018-19 SEASON 
Goalkeeper Minutes Goals conceded Minutes per goal
Alisson 3420 22 155
Ederson 3420 23 149
Hugo Lloris 2970 33 90
Kepa Arrizabalaga 3240 39 83
Vicente Guaita 1755 23 76
Adrian was signed on a free transfer from West Ham earlier this month to provide keeper cover

Adrian was signed on a free transfer from West Ham earlier this month to provide keeper cover

Adrian was signed on a free transfer from West Ham earlier this month to provide keeper cover

But he didn't play regularly for West Ham last season, appearing only in their cup matches

But he didn't play regularly for West Ham last season, appearing only in their cup matches

But he didn’t play regularly for West Ham last season, appearing only in their cup matches

PREMIER LEAGUE KEEPER DISTRIBUTION STATS 2018-19 
Goalkeeper Passes Successful passes Passing accuracy
Kepa Arrizabalaga 1003 857 85.4
Ederson 920 760 82.6
Alisson 1076 864 80.3
Hugo Lloris 1047 770 73.5
Bernd Leno 922 638 69.2

His only appearances came in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup – two of these games were against AFC Wimbledon (he shipped four in the FA Cup tie) and another came against Macclesfield Town.

The Spaniard’s shot-stopping ability is sound – in his 125 Premier League outings for West Ham, his save percentage was 72 per cent.

But his accuracy of distribution was under 50 per cent, quite the drop from Alisson’s 80.3 and it may take him a little time to get accustomed to playing it out sharply and short.

With City scorching out of the blocks, Liverpool cannot afford to miss a beat in these opening weeks of the season. It will fall to Adrian to ensure Alisson’s injury absence isn’t keenly felt.

 



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Arsenal have every reason to be very confident of a successful season

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As things stand right now Arsenal is second in the standings behind Liverpool on goal difference and even though the season is just two games old and we have not faced a top-six rival there is still plenty of reasons to be very confident that this campaign will be a successful one.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, Burnley and Newcastle were easy pickings, I accept that and I know full well that the upcoming games against Liverpool and Tottenham are the real test but that is not what this article is about.

While our first two opponents were hardly the most testing opponents it has to be noted that in the first game it could be argued that as many as six or seven first-team players were missing and even in the game against Burnley there were significant player absences.

But putting the quality of the opponents to one side there is a lot to feel good about as we gear up to face much sterner opposition.

Dani Ceballos has already strengthened the midfield and looks like he could be the replacement for Aaron Ramsey we have been looking for, he also has that Santi Cazorla feel about him and the energy he has brought to the team is clear to see. I have no doubts he will give both Spurs and Liverpool a torrid time.


Lucas Torreira, Mesut Ozil and even Nicolas Pepe have yet to stamp their mark on the season and when those three start clicking in their respective positions the team will be even stronger.

The defence will be far stronger soon as well, David Luiz will become more settled, Monreal is playing like a new signing and Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin should all be back by the time October comes to a close.

This Arsenal team has yet to realise its full potential and as each game passes they are getting closer and closer to showing what they are truly capable of.

I am not saying we are title contenders though I am not ruling it out either but I am saying that there is every reason to feel confident that we will do a lot better than last season and from where I am sat, the evidence is there already that my confidence is justified.


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Arsenal fans will love what Dani Ceballos said after ‘special’ Gunners debut vs Burnley

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Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 on Saturday as the Spaniard made his debut for the Gunners.

The Real Madrid loanee set up goals for both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as Unai Emery’s side won their second game in a row.

The 23-year-old midfielder, who is expected to return to Spain when the season finishes, has spoken out about his dream debut.

He told Arsenal’s official website: “The most important thing in football is to win.

“When you have a great game and can help the team to get the victory, you feel satisfaction to know that you’re going home calmly and with the work done.

“The truth is that for me it has been one of the most special days of my life.

“I think that by starting at home with a win, and with this passion shown at the end of the match, I think it will be hard for me to forget this day.”

Arsenal fans also supplied the new boy with a chant as his impressed at the Emirates, for which he has praised supporters.

He said about the chant: ”For me it is a great pride.

“I really want this year to truly demonstrate the football that I have inside.

“I have a lot of enthusiasm for this season and to be able to give a lot of joy to these people.

“The confidence they have in me, I want to return it to them with my performances.”

After the clash, Match of the Day pundit Danny Murphy raved over Ceballos’ performance, and praised Arsenal for bringing him in on loan.

“They’ve got themselves a player here,” Murphy said.

“He’s got the lot really for a midfielder.

“He’s creative, he wants the ball all the time, which is what I want to see.”

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My Top Ten Favourite Arsenal Kits – What’s yours?

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So, let’s be honest the new Arsenal kit launch could not have gone better for all parties. On the day of the first release there were talks of not buying any shirts as a way of protesting against Stan Kroenke. A month later sales have been so good that Adidas are ready to release a 4th kit.

The idea that Arsenal have already been paid hence it doesn’t matter how much merchandise is brought is a myth. The more money they make, the more Mr. Adidas is willing to offer when it’s time to renew the contract. Alternatively, if the product wasn’t shifting, you’re going to struggle to find a company willing to hand over 300 million.

Since I watched football though, I have rarely heard gooners so impressed by a manufacturer’s work, to the point I think they would be angry if we changed sponsors in the immediate future. Now this list will be subjective, no right and wrong (not including the latest kit)…

A lot might depend on your age and of course how successful the team were at the time. Some like to keep things simple yet there’s nothing worse than feeling obliged to cash out your money on the same red shirt you owned for 12 months, where the only difference might be a line.

I should stress Puma will not feature as I didn’t have the body building physique, they were clearly marketed for. I know you can buy the version which isn’t as tight but sorry I don’t pay 60 pounds to remind myself I’m not as fit as I used to be.

10- Purple away


Okay I know some don’t like when our kits abandon tradition, but sometimes it can get boring when shirts look exactly the same. Plus a few years without wearing yellow you appreciate it more when it returns. Whisper it quietly, I didn’t actually buy this shirt but instead spent more on a fleece which I still wear to this day. The colour scheme seemed popular with those who didn’t know without seeing the canyon it was football themed, always a good sign

9- Blue Away

Some shirts just look really good on the players, but don’t quite work for us modern folk. I like my arms in long sleeves, so this always felt like a comfy pajama top rather then something I could kick a ball around in. I added the gloves but really wasn’t skillful enough to pull it off.

8- White Kit

I know some instincts where it was white and therefore just not a colour you associate with Arsenal. Yet all of that is taken away by the cranberry collar, sleeves and shorts making this a trendy shirt more then just a decent footie shirt. Maybe it’s what age you were at the time, but this was the first football shirt I owned which girls thought looked smart, so …. I guess…

7- Blue Anniversary Shirt

Is it me or did Football go through a phase where they wanted shirts to be smart as much as on the pitch but also something you could wear casually? Quite a comfy fit with an original badge to celebrate our anniversary, perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for a really poor squad who had to wear it. I’m still trying to work out how we got in the top 4 that year.

6- Yellow Away

Sometime less is more. There’s something classic about modern day doing retro and here’s an example. They haven’t played around by adding a blue or grey stripe, simply bright, yellow, bright blue, stripe socks, iconic Arsenal.

5- Yellow Invincible

Now this was yellow, as yellow as you can be. So yellow you were self-conscious nipping to your corner shop because to non-football fans you were just wearing a really yellow shirt and not many of us can pull it off. Again, though it’s iconic and one of the final times we stuck with the baggy color. Plus, if my electric meter ran out of money, I still had light!

4- Arsenal 2000-02

For no other reason then the first shirt I was brought as a child. I’m sure we all have that memory which would be nice to share in the comments…

3 Gold

The first time I saw Arsenal be original without going over the top, fitting the red and blue in. Okay let’s be honest, to wear gold you need to have the right team to pull it off. Gold doesn’t work if your finishing 10th in the League.

2 Home Invincibles

So, there’s only so much you can do to your home shirt as we are associated with red and white. If your going to do it make it basic, red shirt, white sleeves, sponsors. Don’t change the collar or add a stripe just to sell a new version. If I had to pick one, of course I’m going to pick the one worn by our greatest ever side.

1 – Cranberry

Will divide opinion as some will insist our home kit always be red and white while others will appreciate the originality. It was never important to me to have the names and numbers on the back but Henry was my exception. I have to say the gold lettering over the Cranberry was stunning. As I got older, it’s the one kit I never throw out as it reminds me of happier times.

Henry, Highbury …… you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone, I guess ….

Be nice in the comments

Dan Smith


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