Alisson error highlights risks with ball-playing keepers
When Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson received an errant back-pass on the byline to the right of his goal, there was no teammate available for a pass and an opponent was bearing down on him quickly.
It looked an obvious next play for the Brazil international: Make the clearance and let the team regroup as it looked to see out a hard-fought game away to Leicester in the English Premier League.
That’s not the way for a modern ball-playing goalkeeper, though.
Instead, Alisson attempted to drag the ball back between his legs to outsmart Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho, got it caught in his feet, was dispossessed, and ended up conceding a goal in embarrassing fashion.
The mistake didn’t cost Liverpool, which held on to win 2-1 and maintain its 100 percent start to the season, but it did highlight the dangers of coaches asking goalkeepers to use their feet as much as their hands these days.
“I’m not going to be stupid and make the same mistake. We have to learn from our mistakes,” Alisson said after letting in a goal for the first time since joining Liverpool in July for $85 million — then a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.
“It is part of my game but I am not going to be arrogant to stand here and say I’m going to keep doing it.”
Expect, however, other Premier League goalkeepers to continue with the risk-taking. Other ball-playing goalkeepers include Manchester City’s Ederson Moraes and Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris. Arsenal’s Petr Cech is age 36 and he has already acknowledged teething problems after being asked, for the first time in his career, to play the ball out from the back this season by new coach Unai Emery.
Despite Alisson’s error, Liverpool stayed top thanks to first-half goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and is one of two teams on 12 points from four games. Chelsea is the other after beating Bournemouth 2-0 at home.
Manchester City, the defending champion, beat Newcastle 2-1 to remain two points off the pace.
CHELSEA’S LATE SHOW
Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea is still getting used to his methods following his arrival from Napoli in the offseason. Imagine what the team will be like when it is really firing.
A fourth straight win was sealed by second-half goals from Pedro Rodriguez and Eden Hazard as Chelsea finally got through Bournemouth’s defensive set-up after dominating for long spells.
Pedro exchanged passes with fellow second-half substitute Olivier Giroud and shot into the bottom corner from just inside the area in the 72nd minute. Hazard then ran onto a pass from Marcos Alonso and fired a finish underneath Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to seal victory in the 85th.
After dropping points for the first time this season at Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, Manchester City was facing more disappointment when Newcastle equalized against the run of play at Etihad Stadium.
American defender DeAndre Yedlin’s first Premier League goal canceled out an early strike for City from Raheem Sterling and Newcastle was frustrating the champions. Then Kyle Walker received the ball 30 meters out, took a touch, and drove a low shot into the far corner in the 52nd minute.
City left winger Leroy Sane out of the squad entirely, with manager Pep Guardiola reportedly unhappy with the Germany international’s attitude.
WEST HAM WOBBLING
Preseason optimism at West Ham, generated by hiring Premier League-winning manager Manuel Pellegrini and spending more than $100 million on new players, has evaporated after a fourth straight loss.
Wolverhampton scored an injury-time goal through Adama Traore to win at West Ham 1-0, the latest bleak result for the last-place London club at the Olympic Stadium.
West Ham also opened the 2010-11 season with four straight losses, and went on to be relegated.
Crystal Palace hasn’t won for nearly two years when Wilfried Zaha isn’t playing in the team. So when the energetic forward was ruled out with an injury for the match against Southampton, it was inevitable what followed.
Danny Ings and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scored in Southampton’s 2-0 win at Selhurst Park as Palace’s reliance on Zaha was exposed once again.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson will just be hoping Zaha’s injury — a groin strain sustained in training on Friday — isn’t too serious.
In other results, Brighton came from two goals down to draw with Fulham 2-2, and Huddersfield held injury-hit Everton to 1-1 at Goodison Park.