Thursday, January 21, 2021

Alisson explains why he’s “confident” against Bayern despite having no Van Dijk

Alison is unfazed by Bayern test and believes Liverpool have ‘cracked’ how to defend without Van Dijk

Van Djik’s suspension leaves Jurgen Klopp with a big decision to make ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash. Jurgen Klopp will have expected that he would need to make that call in a big game this season. With Joe Gomez out injured and question marks over the availability of Dejan Lovren, Liverpool could line up with Joel Matip and midfielder Fabinho at the heart of their defence. But Alisson says he isn’t worried.

Alisson will be starting a competitive Liverpool match behind a defence which doesn’t contain Virgil van Dijk for the first time against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, but the Brazilian insists he’s confident of his side’s chances. Van Dijk is suspended for the visit of the German giants in the Champions League last-16, first leg tie following his booking in the Reds’ final match of the group stages against Napoli.

The Dutchman – who is still the most expensive defender in the world at £75million – has started every one of Liverpool’s Premier League and Champions League matches this season, as has Alisson. His absence will be felt as an on-field leader. But Alisson is convinced that Liverpool boast enough experience and depth in their squad to counter the loss of one player.

The Brazilian goalkeeper told Premier League Productions, “All the defenders have played so when one comes in and one leaves, we don’t feel that loss because we’re all used to each other. That the backline are all able to communicate with each other, and know each other really well, is vital for any team. Once you’ve cracked it, you’ve got it – and we seem confident.”

While the Reds are “confident”, Klopp does face a selection dilemma at the back. Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren are nursing knocks, meaning that there is no obvious option to fill in alongside Joel Matip. Fabinho may be the man to get the nod, having already covered at centre-half this season.

With Joe Gomez out injured and question marks over the availability of Dejan Lovren, Liverpool could line up with Joel Matip and midfielder Fabinho at the heart of their defence. Whoever is included, Alisson is aware that Liverpool will need to be at the top of their game in order to collect a positive result.

He is looking forward to that challenge, especially as a meeting with Bayern is set to give him the chance to line up at the opposite end of the field to World Cup winner Manuel Neuer.

Author’s Take:

Virgil van Dijk’s suspension, coupled with Joe Gomez’s absence and Dejan Lovren’s ongoing fitness issues. It means the Reds must find an alternative solution to a sizeable problem. Joel Matip needs a partner, while Robert Lewandowski and Co. need stopping.

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