Should They Stay Or Should They Go? Part 1: Goalkeepers and Defenders

Should They Stay Or Should They Go? Part 1: Goalkeepers and Defenders
June 29, 2021 Andrew Beasley

 

Did you miss us? It has been three years since The Tomkins Times last ran its Should They Stay Or Should They Go? summer series, where we run the rule over Liverpool’s squad with an eye on whether or not each player should be part of the manager’s plans for the forthcoming campaign.

While it wasn’t intentional to take a break, there wasn’t a huge amount of debate required in the last two years. The Reds were flying high and almost everyone would’ve been firmly in the Stay camp as a result. Liverpool don’t need a massive overhaul of their squad ahead of 2021/22, but there are more players with a question mark over their heads than would’ve been the case prior to this incredibly challenging season.

In case you’ve not read one of these articles before, the squad will be broken down into three sections. A brief statistical overview of the last three seasons will be provided for each player (from FBRef, showing their age at the beginning of 2020/21), followed by a statement setting out the case in their defence, one for the prosecution, and a personal verdict on whether they should, well, stay or go (be that permanently or on loan). You will be able to vote in a poll, and obviously debate the decisions in the comments section below.

All rise, court is in session. Please send in the first defendant.

Alisson Becker

Why should he stay? Did you not see his goal at The Hawthorns? I’d make Alisson Becker honorary life president of the club for that moment alone. Yet while his header stole the headlines, what was less apparent was just how phenomenal the Brazilian was at his normal end of the pitch across the final 10 matches of the season.

Liverpool allowed 14 on target clear-cut chances in that period and Alisson saved 13 of them. Hal Robson-Kanu was the only player to beat him, and Becker got his revenge for that 80 minutes later anyway. In the 10 game run which ultimately determined whether or not the Reds would be playing Champions League football in 2021/22, Alisson saved 4.2 goals more than expected. For the season as a whole he was at +5.9, the fifth best figure in Europe’s biggest five leagues. It would be madness to even consider cashing in those chips.

Why should he go? This isn’t going to be the most convincing paragraph you read in this side of the ledger in these articles. But it’s not entirely impossible to make a case. Alisson is annoyingly injury prone, having been absent for three separate spells in 2020/21 and missing 21 matches in the last two years.

He is also liable to make costly mistakes at times. By Statsbomb’s measure, Alisson committed seven defensive errors in the Premier League this season, as many as he had made in the preceding three campaigns combined. For all his strengths, there are undoubtedly goalkeepers who don’t make anywhere near as many gaffes.

Verdict: Stay Not much doubt about this one. Did you not see his goal at The Hawthorns?

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