Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson will once again live out a dream when he lines up against Manuel Neuer at the Allianz Arena – but insists he cannot yet compare himself to the Bayern Munich icon.
Neuer has arguably been world football’s outstanding goalkeeper for much of the past decade, winning six consecutive Bundesliga titles with Bayern, along with the 2012-13 Champions League and, a year later as Germany’s last line of defence, the 2014 World Cup.
Die Mannschaft’s bid to retain that crown ended with an ignominious group-stage exit at Russia 2018, with Neuer short of his best form after returning from an injury nightmare.
The mantle of world’s best is once again up for grabs, with Brazil’s Alisson among those spoken of most loftily among the generation approaching their prime.
Nevertheless, speaking at a pre-match news conference ahead of a Champions League last-16 fixture locked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, Alisson does not believe he belongs in that company just yet.
“I can’t compare myself with Neuer, he’s one of the best in the last 10 years, maybe he is the best one,” Alisson said.
“He won everything and I am just starting. He is a reference for me. He’s a great guy and playing against him is a dream come true.
“I can’t compare myself to him. I know I work hard. I’m part of a big club with big plans and big goals. I need to take this responsibility, take care of it and give my 100 per cent on the pitch.
“To be the best in the world would be a consequence of this.”
Alisson will feel more secure having Virgil van Dijk back in front of him at centre-back as he looks to keep out Robert Lewandowski and the rest of an all-star Bayern forward line once again.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 12, 2019
Fabinho dropped back from his usual position in midfield to deputise when the towering Dutchman was suspended for the first-leg stalemate at Anfield, but having a specialist in the heart of the defence is definitely preferable as far as Liverpool’s first-choice keeper is concerned.
“It’s great to play with him and all my team-mates. Our team has so many players with a lot of quality, but Van Dijk is a very, very important player for our team,” Alisson said.
“The way we play, he is a constant in defending from high balls, set pieces and corners. He is important for us.
“It’s very important to come with him for the second game. Fabinho played well at centre-back but it’s not the same thing.
“He’s a great midfielder but only a good centre-back. If you can have the best in the position for us it’s always better.”
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