Football, eh? Bloody hell!
Even after all these years, this sport still finds a way to surprise you, to thrill you, to take the breath away.
Step forward, Alisson Becker.
Liverpool’s season was fizzling out. The clock had ticked past 90 minutes, past the four that had been added on. The Reds were drawing, desperate, watching their Champions League hopes melt away in the west Midlands rain.
And then their goalkeeper decided to take matters into his own hands. Or onto his own head, to be more specific.
The Brazil international has been up for corners before. A few times this season, in fact. But here, when Jurgen Klopp needed him most, there he was, rising to meet Trent Alexander-Arnold’s left-wing corner with the most perfect of headers. Far corner, 2-1 Liverpool.
What is it about this club? How can they just keep conjuring up these moments, these feelings, these roller-coaster rides?
What can you possibly say?
Alisson is the sixth goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal and the first to score for Liverpool.
And this was not just any goal, this was a huge one, in the context of the Reds’ season. It keeps their top-four destiny pretty much in their own hands. As Liverpool celebrated — and boy, did they celebrate — the groans could be heard in Leicester and at Chelsea. They meet at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Any result suits the Reds.
It had looked like Klopp’s men had faltered, unable to find a way through a stubborn West Brom defense at 1-1. They had trailed to Hal Robson-Kanu’s early strike, leveling through Mo Salah’s customary equalizer.
And then they huffed and they puffed, without blowing the house down.
Salah missed. Roberto Firmino missed. Trent Alexander-Arnold missed when he simply had to score. Seven minutes left. Gini Wijnaldum missed. Two minutes remaining.
Up went the board. Four added. Klopp grinned. One of those sarcastic, rueful grins. Not enough time. Not this time.
What a moment Alisson provided. What pictures, what memories. What celebrations. What an interview.
The emotion was etched all over his face. He has had a terrible few months, losing his father, Jose, in February. He deserved this. Not even Sam Allardyce could argue otherwise. The West Brom boss was smiling himself at the final whistle. What else could he do?
“I am too emotional these last months for everything that happened with me and my life, but football is my life,” a clearly tearful Alisson told Sky Sports moments after his attacking intervention.
“I hope my father was here to see it. It’s for my family and for the boys.”
Klopp could barely have hugged his ‘keeper harder. “If Olivier Giroud scores like that you say it’s a worldie!” he told Sky.
“It’s the best goal I ever saw from a goalkeeper. It’s a worldie! Wow!”
It cannot be for nothing, can it? You can’t let a moment like this go to waste. Liverpool needs two more wins and it should be in the Champions League. Burnley on Wednesday, Crystal Palace next Sunday. There will be fans present at those games. The noise will be there, the atmosphere, the tension, the release.
One doubts whether it will be anything like it was at around 6.25 p.m. here, mind!
Football, eh? How could we ever doubt you?