Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Chelsea wanted to sign me, but Liverpool fans swayed decision and helped me fulfil dream

Had it not been for Liverpool’s famous atmosphere and European heritage, they would have missed out on one of the world’s top goalkeepers.

That is according to Alisson himself, who joined the Reds from Roma in a deal worth up to £67million.

Alisson joined Liverpool in 2018 despite strong interest from Chelsea and has become a fan favouriteGetty

Flash back to 2018, and the Brazil international was a shot-stopper in demand after being instrumental in the Serie A side’s run to the Champions League semi-final.

Chelsea had identified him as their No.1 target to replace Thibaut Courtois, who left to join Real Madrid.

But they were ultimately knocked back by the 30-year-old, leading them to bring in Kepa Arrizabalaga for £71.6m – a world record fee for a goalkeeper.

It’s a rejection that has haunted the Blues, who have yet to find consistency with a goalie in the last five years.

The same can’t be said for Liverpool, with Alisson becoming a fan favourite and arguably their greatest-ever goalkeeper alongside the late Ray Clemence.

However, it could have been so different had Liverpool not been drawn against Roma in the European Cup semi-finals – which they won 7-6 on aggregate.

A 5-2 first leg win at Anfield proved to be a key reason in Alisson’s decision to make the move to Merseyside after being blown away by the hostile atmosphere.

Speaking to Brazilian outlet UOL Sport, he said: “I think that game served as an experience of living a day at Anfield, seeing the crowd up close.

His decision has been justified having won every major club trophy there is to win, including the Premier League and Champions LeagueAFP or licensors

“That contributed to my choice for Liverpool. If you ask me what it was like to play at Anfield as an opponent I can sum it up for you in one word: horrible.

“Anfield is a spectacular stadium, when the crowd plays together it’s very noisy — and in that game they were ‘on fire’.

“I had a proposal from Chelsea too, but living that cheered me up a lot to play for Liverpool. So is [boss Jurgen] Klopp.

“He is a sensational person, one of the great coaches in the history of world football.

“He’s a guy who does everything he can to make us feel comfortable playing and bring his style to the team.”

And in a separate interview with FourFourTwo in February 2019, Alisson opened up on how Liverpool’s love affair with the European Cup also played a major part in his decision.

He remarked: “I chose Liverpool for the same reasons I went to Roma when I first left Brazil – I thought this would be the best move for my career.

“Chelsea were changing their manager and not playing in the Champions League. I’ve also always admired Liverpool’s history.

The atmosphere inside Anfield was a major reason in Alisson choosing Liverpool and is glad to have them behind himAFP

“This is a club with five European Cups in their trophy cabinet. I really wanted to be part of that history.

“I came very close to winning the competition with Roma and I’m working hard to make it happen now with Liverpool.

“What’s life if not fighting for your dreams? I dream of winning the Champions League.”

In 2020, he fulfilled his dream by winning the Champions League – keeping a clean sheet in the 2-0 final victory over Premier League rivals Tottenham.

And two years later he almost added another winners medal to his ever-growing trophy collection, but Liverpool came up short against Real Madrid in Paris.

There’s no question that Alisson made the correct call, with Liverpool scooping every major honour in the last five years.

Along with the Champions League, Alisson has won the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and the Club World Cup.

He even popped up with a late winner in Liverpool’s 2-1 win away at West Brom in May 2021 to help Liverpool secure an unlikely top four spot.

Alisson popped up with one of the Premier League’s most dramatic goals in May 2021AFP

The proud winner of the 2019 Best FIFA Goalkeeper award, Alisson is closing in on 250 games for the Reds in all competitions.

While Klopp has made huge changes to his midfield and attack in the last year, Alisson’s position has never been in doubt.

Missing just 14 top-flight games in the last five seasons, Alisson has not only become Mr Reliable, but one of the world’s best goalkeepers.

Maybe he should have had a word with Moises Caicedo

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