Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach John Achterberg has provided an update on the fitness of No.1 Alisson Becker, who suffered a calf injury in the opening game of the season against Norwich.
Despite a perfect start to the campaign, the Brazilian has been sorely missed at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s defensive unit. Summer signing Adrian has come in to replace the 26-year-old, performing well particularly against Burnley where a series of strong saves ensured Liverpool retained the ascendency and recorded their first clean sheet of the season.
Alisson steps up recovery but return still a way off
However, such has been the impact of Alisson since his arrival at Anfield that replacing the Brazilian is an almost impossible job; a key communicator at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, his partnership with Virgil van Dijk and co. laid the foundations for The Reds as they maintained the best defensive record in the Premier League last season.
Thus, getting the Brazilian back to full match fitness and available for selection again will be a huge boost. It would appear that he has made considerable steps along in his recovery over the international break, working alongside rehabilitation fitness coach David Rydings at Melwood last week.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Achterberg confirmed that the 26-year-old has been on the pitch over the last few days. “Ali has been working with Dave in the gym a lot to improve the strength and try to keep the fitness levels up. In the last few days he has been out on the pitch to do some catching and footwork, as well as small passing drills.”
However, he was unable to give a definitive time frame as to when Alisson could be expected to return to Premier League action. Initial hopes that he would be back for Liverpool’s game against Newcastle on Saturday will not be met.
“He has made steady progress, but it is difficult to say how long it will take or how it will progress. It needs time and we cannot look too far ahead, so we take each day as it comes, see how he feels, and then make progress from that.”
Prior to the international break, Jurgen Klopp admitted it would take time for Alisson to return to full fitness given the type of injury he sustained.
“He [has] made steps, of course, but it was a proper injury, so it will still take time,” Klopp said. “A calf muscle is pretty important for jumping – and for a goalie, it is quite important that you can jump from time to time, so it will take time.”
Klopp retains faith in Adrian as Alisson absence continues
Klopp was quick to praise the work of understudy Adrian, who has enjoyed somewhat of a baptism of fire since making a summer switch from West Ham. Expected to fill the bench for a considerable period of time, he has become a key member in Alisson’s absence and the manager appeared pleased with his performances thus far.
“Thank god we have a fit Adrian in the back and now in charge, which is good. So far, I am really happy with everything I saw. He is a good guy, which is important as well, but most importantly, of course, he can catch balls. The solution we found for it is really good. Of course it would be better if Ali was around but that will take some time.”
Liverpool face Newcastle at the weekend before their first game in this year’s Champions League Group stage against familiar opposition in Napoli. Alisson proved to be a hero in the reverse fixture, ensuring Liverpool progressed to the knockout stages before going on to secure European Cup number six.