Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Liverpool keeper with match winner

Published:Monday | May 17, 2021 | 12:12 AM
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson (second right) scores his side’s second goal during their English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns Stadium in West Bromwich, England, yesterday.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson (second right) scores his side’s second goal during their English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns Stadium in West Bromwich, England, yesterday.

(AP):

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson made the 80m journey into West Bromwich Albion’s penalty area, more in hope than any expectation of scoring the stoppage-time goal that would keep alive his team’s chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

After all, he had never scored a goal in his career. No Liverpool ‘keeper had in the club’s 129-year history.

One textbook header from a corner changed all that.

In one of the most sensational moments of this or any English Premier League (EPL) season, Alisson — with his gloves on and unmissable in his black shirt and shorts — found space in the middle of the area to glance a header into the bottom corner from a perfect delivery by Trent Alexander-Arnold and secure Liverpool a dramatic 2-1 win yesterday.

It came in the fifth minute of added-on time and was delivered with the technique of an established striker.

Alisson got up off the ground and was immediately mobbed by his teammates. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was speechless in his technical area.

A goalkeeper had scored for just the sixth time in EPL history — none of the previous five had been a winner or a header.

AGAINST ALL ODDS

And Liverpool, against all the odds, could dream once again of the Champions League, with one week left of the season.

Alisson dedicated the goal to his father, José Agostinho Becker, who drowned in February after going for a swim on his property in the southern city of Lavras do Sul in Brazil.

“I (wish) he was here to see it. I’m sure he is with God at his side, celebrating,” he said.

Without that goal, Liverpool would have been on course to miss out on finishing in the top four, its destiny no longer in its players’ hands.

Now, wins over Burnley and Crystal Palace are likely to seal Liverpool a place in the top four and a return to the Champions League for one of European football’s grandest clubs.

“What a goal! What a worldie and unbelievable goal! The technique was insane!” Klopp said.

“It couldn’t have been a better moment. It’s just perfect for today. If he is never doing it again, I’m fine. It’s a perfect moment.”

Liverpool have 63 points, one behind fourth-place Chelsea and three behind third-place Leicester, with two rounds remaining. Chelsea host Leicester tomorrow in the next-to-last round.

Crystal Palace 3-2 Aston Villa

Tottenham 2-0 Wolverhampton

West Brom 1-2 Liverpool

Everton 0-1 Sheffield United