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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 fans rage at Dele Alli goal vs Watford – ’VAR is a Tottenham fan’

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Arsenal fans could not believe Tottenham’s luck as they secured a late draw against Watford.

Ben Foster dropped the ball in the 86th minute and Dele Alli gobbled up the chance to snatch a point.

VAR checked the goal to make sure there was nothing wrong with it, and ruled it legal despite the ball appearing to come off the top of Alli’s arm.

Yet the big screen inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium initially read ‘No Goal’ which sent the Watford supporters into raptures.

However on the field, the Hornets were instructed to kick off and restart play.

It’s not the first time Tottenham have had to rely on VAR to spare their blushes.

Last season Raheem Sterling scored in the Champions League quarter-finals in the final minutes and thought he’d sent them through to the last four.

But VAR ruled out the goal and also did the same in the Premier League back in August when Gabriel Jesus scored in injury time against Spurs.

Arsenal fans were keen to point out today was not the first instance of Tottenham getting a decision in their favour.

“VAR is a Tottenham fan,” one fan tweeted.

Another said: “Once again Tottenham saved by the luck of VAR and refereeing decisions…

“It’s getting repetitive now.”

A third said: “Deulofeu should’ve had a penalty in the first half! That was a stonewall penalty! VAR is so biased especially towards Tottenham and Liverpool.”

Another wrote: “VAR helping Tottenham as usual.”

A fifth said: “It’s ridiculous how VAR keeps favoring Tottenham.”

Tottenham can also count themselves lucky they didn’t give away a penalty in the first half.

Jan Vertonghen appeared to trip Gerard Deulofeu in the box, but the challenge went unpunished.

Tottenham are up to seventh in the table while Watford remain winless.

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Man Utd boss Solskjaer questioned by Stelling as Arsenal comparison made – EXCLUSIVE

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to start using his young talent, just like Unai Emery does at Arsenal.

That’s the view of Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, who has seen United struggle at the beginning of the season.

Solskjaer’s side have won just two of their first eight matches and face table-toppers Liverpool on Sunday.

Solskjaer has looked short in attack though still only uses the likes of Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong sparingly.

And Stelling believes Solskjaer, who only took over as manager last December, needs to back his young talent during his struggles as boss.

“Watching against Newcastle, I watched Solskjaer on the touchline and he looks a bit lost,” Stelling told Express Sport. “He looks like he’s as shocked as anyone else.

“Of course he says the right things but he looks as bewildered as anyone else and doesn’t know what the heck to do about it.

“You can argue that the players he has brought in have done well, so he’s in credit for that. But he doesn’t know his best side, that’s quite clear.

“He doesn’t know how to get the best out of Rashford, and not just Rashford.

“And even though he sings the praises of the young players, if he’s not starting Mason Greenwood, when they’re in a run like this, when is he going to start them?

“Even letting Sanchez and Lukaku go, he still will not put the kids in from the start.

“I just think there are so many mixed messages, are they good enough or are they not good enough? There’s only one way to find out.

“Arsenal are doing it, for different reasons, but they are putting their kids in and it’s paying dividends. From a United perspective, they’ve got nothing to lose.”

Manchester United host Liverpool at 4.30pm on Sunday.

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Watford striker Danny Welbeck goes down injured after just 55 SECONDS against Tottenham

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Watford striker Danny Welbeck goes down injured after just 55 SECONDS against Tottenham as the former Arsenal and Manchester United man’s fitness woes come back to haunt him

  • Danny Welbeck went down with an injury less than a minute into the game in N17 
  • He signed for Watford on a free transfer with hopes of playing regular football 
  • But he is now set for a spell on the sidelines in what could be another ankle issue
  • Fans have called on the player to retire with injury problems plaguing his career 

Watford forward Danny Welbeck strengthened his injury-prone reputation after he was forced to come off against Tottenham just 55 seconds into the game.

The former Arsenal and Manchester United star has struggled with fitness issues for a majority of his career but a fresh start at Vicarage Road gave him hope of putting those problems behind him for good. 

Danny Welbeck goes down injured under no challenge as Watford's physio's give treatment

Danny Welbeck goes down injured under no challenge as Watford’s physio’s give treatment 

But any optimism Welbeck had turned over a new leaf were immediately quashed less than a minute after kick off when he went down with no one around him at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. He was replaced by Gerard Deulofeu after briefly being attended to by medics.

Welbeck missed much of the 2018/19 season for Arsenal, with an ankle injury ruling him out for six months, and its possible the problem has now resurfaced.

The 28-year-old has made three starts for the Hornets this season after signing on a free transfer from the Gunners this summer.

He is ushered off the pitch as his injury problems come to light in yet another league season

He is ushered off the pitch as his injury problems come to light in yet another league season

He is ushered off the pitch as his injury problems come to light in yet another league season

Welbeck has a history of fitness woes and missed six months for Arsenal in the last campaign

Welbeck has a history of fitness woes and missed six months for Arsenal in the last campaign

Welbeck has a history of fitness woes and missed six months for Arsenal in the last campaign

It had been hoped he might be able to chip in with goals to boost Watford’s charge to stave off relegation, but he is now set for a spell on the sidelines. 

And football fans have been quick to poke fun at Welbeck given his history with injuries, with some urging him to retire.

One user pointed how Welbeck sustained his injury without any contact from an opposition player, while another said he should consider ‘calling time on his career’.



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