Liverpool's Alisson won't return to Brazil due to pandemic

July 25

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has no plans to travel back to Brazil during the offseason after being urged by the English Premier League champion to avoid the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“They obviously recommended avoiding Brazil, as the country is on the apex of the pandemic," Alisson said on Saturday. "I would not go anyway, even with their green light, as it would be a risk for my family. So we will wait for things to get better before visiting family and friends.”

The Brazil international was speaking in a wide-ranging interview ahead of Sunday's conclusion to a Premier League that saw Liverpool lift the trophy for the first time on Wednesday.

Alisson credited manager Jürgen Klopp with revolutionizing the club, praised captain Jordan Henderson's leadership skills, and spoke about how to avoid being affected by mistakes after recent blunders by rival Premier League goalkeepers.

Alisson is certainly playing at a top level with Liverpool, helping the northwest English team win the domestic championship for the first time in 30 years. He also picked up the European Cup and Club World Cup with Liverpool in 2019.

“When I signed for Liverpool, I had a bigger obsession for winning the Champions League in comparison to any national league,” Alisson said. "However, since I first arrived at the club, I understood the importance of the Premier League for us. Its importance was assigned to us, the desire of winning the league was put inside of us and we all understood the context of the club being one of the biggest winners of the top-flight but still not able to win the Premier League.

"Winning it was also a huge desire of our fans. The wait has hurt them. So it also became my own obsession to put an end to this wait.”

The fans were not able to join Alisson and his teammates inside Anfield when the Premier League trophy was presented after Wednesday's 5-3 victory over Chelsea due to pandemic restrictions.

“The absence of our fans is the first thing we missed," Alisson said. "We will not have the traditional parade as happened after we won the Champions League title. That was incredible, almost one million people were there, something unforgettable.

"However, the time will come and we will celebrate properly with our fans. Hopefully things will get better soon with a vaccine and life can return to normal.”

Alisson believes Klopp “transformed not only the club but the city” of Liverpool as well.

“He treats everyone equally which gives him a lot of credit,” Alisson said. “Nobody is special, every player is treated in the same way. From the one who plays more to the one who does not play. We also have an easy squad to deal with. You will not find a player with a bigger ego than the collective goals.

“I believe this is also a reflection of this club and of what Klopp brought here. He has revolutionized the club in recent years."

The role of the captain has been pivotal.

“I believe some people are born with leadership skills,” Alisson said. "It is a gift. We can all develop some leadership skills, but Henderson’s main quality is his character. He has a strong personality, he is a positive leader.

“He is tough when it needs to be, he is there when the team needs someone to raise us, he is very intelligent to read the situation. It is definitely a big help to the manager to have someone like him on the pitch.”

Henderson was voted footballer of the year by the English Football Writers' Association.

“I read an article saying that he is the personification of non-selfish, of someone who does not think about himself,” Alisson said. "He is just like that. He thinks about the squad, he is worried about the collective goal. Therefore, we are blessed to have a guy like him in the team.”

Alisson has enjoyed a strong season while Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Chelsea counterpart Kepa have struggled for consistency.

“The key is not being affected by the mistakes," Alisson said. “Errors are natural for any goalkeeper and you must move on. When a defender makes a mistake, there is another defender or the goalkeeper to help.

"When a forward makes a mistake, there is the whole team behind him to try and correct his error. That is not the case for us. It is almost certain it will be a goal.”

That has been the case with high-profile errors by De Gea and Kepa proving costly for their teams.

“I obviously work hard to avoid any mistakes at all, I want to have a 100% performance,” Alisson said. "But it is crucial to be prepared to deal with your mistakes. Errors are inherent to this profession, we are human beings. The way you deal with your mistakes definitely helps to maintain a top level consistency.”

While European nations will play games in early September, Alisson will not be pulling on the Brazil jersey then. South America’s World Cup qualifiers have been moved from September to October as the region struggles to contain the coronavirus.

“I am missing (playing for Brazil) very much," he said. “Winning is a must for the ‘Selecao,’ we have got to win every title we play for.

"I am anxious to have the opportunity to feature in another World Cup. In case I deserve to be there, if I keep playing at a good level, it would be my dream to play in another World Cup and hopefully win the competition.”

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