Alisson Becker on Atalanta, improving performances and return from injury

Press conferenceAlisson Becker on Atalanta, improving performances and return from injury

By Liverpool FC


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Alisson Becker knows improvement at both ends of the pitch is needed if Liverpool are to produce a Europa League comeback against Atalanta on Thursday.

Trailing 3-0 from the first leg of the quarter-final tie at Anfield last week, the Reds arrived in Italy on Wednesday aware they will need another memorable European turnaround if they are to keep alive their hopes of making it to next month’s final in Dublin.

And while history shows that anything is possible – Jürgen Klopp’s side overturned a three-goal, first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona and reach the Champions League final in 2019 – Alisson believes that the first task is to produce a performance that is much improved from the first leg and Sunday’s disappointing Premier League loss at home to Crystal Palace.

The Brazilian told reporters: “[We have had] two bad results, [but] I think we cannot make the mistake to make these bigger than it is.

“Of course losing 3-0 at home is something that we cannot accept as LFC players. We have to improve our performances, of course, but if I would be more precise on the things we have to do better, it is we have to go back to keeping clean sheets and try to score the chances that we have, the clear chances that we have in front of the goal.

“I am saying that because I trust my strikers a lot, I trust my defenders a lot and I know the quality that we have as a team.

“So if we do that as a team, defend as a team, attack as a team, improving these kind of things then I think we can go back to winning games.”

Read on to find out what else the No.1 had to say at Wednesday’s pre-match press conference…

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On whether there are similarities with the memorable comeback against Barcelona in 2019…

Not so many, I think, apart from the result. We are playing the second leg away, [in] that game we played the second leg at home. [There are] different players, different competition. I think there are more differences than similarities, so it’s a completely different situation and we have to deal differently with this situation as well.

On whether Liverpool’s history of European comebacks offers belief to the players...

As I said before, yes, we did in the past great things, great achievements. You can see in the history of football [that] teams have overcome bad results and turned around and qualified for the next stage in European competitions. Of course we have to believe in ourselves, but in my opinion it’s a really difficult situation. The way the opponent played at our home shows their quality and how tough this game tomorrow will be. But we come here with a goal to improve our performance in respect of the last game, to try to play better as a team, [which is something] we didn’t do in the last match. We will try to avoid some mistakes and try to do the things that we have to do better [in]. Then we will see how the result of that will be.

On the test posed by Atalanta…

They will be a tough nut to crack. They are a very physical side, both physically and tactically and technically. It has always been a very tough match to come up against them. They play 11 against 11, man-marking all over the pitch and when you play against a team that do man-mark all over the pitch, you need to make sure that you are willing to put in hard work and run. If you don’t do that, it’s pointless even going out there to play in the first place! They did an outstanding job in the last game, you could see that they prepared the game very well with regards to knowledge of us as a team. We also produced a bad performance. I think this match could be a different kettle of fish but we need to do a much better job than we did in the first leg.

On his recovery from the muscle injury suffered in February…

Yes, it was really hard for me. I am a guy that when I am at home, injured or just resting, I don’t like to watch football because I get too excited and I want to play! I want to be part of every game. But I knew that wasn’t possible for me, so I tried to make the best of the treatments, the recovery. I spent a lot of time on a bed having treatment, spent a lot of time inside the gym working to be strong when I come back, to be in a good shape, maybe better than I was before. This is how I feel. It was eight weeks pretty much working double sessions every day, sometimes three sessions, so it was really hard for me. And, of course, seeing the team fighting for titles, I have a lot of desire to be part of that, to be part of that fight. Thank God I am here and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

On the importance of keeping a clean sheet in Thursday’s game…

It will start from that. This is a goal not only for this game, this has to be our goal for the rest of the season, for the next season and for the seasons to come. Keeping clean sheets is the basis for a successful team. We did that in the past. The trophies we won, we were solid defensive-wise. And that doesn’t depend only on the defenders, but from the whole team, from the whole system. We have to defend [with] everyone together, to fight on the pitch to get the ball back, to close the gaps, win challenges, block shots, stop crosses, making saves, making difficult saves. We have to do that as a team to get the clean sheets. I think this is a basis for us not only for tomorrow but for the rest.

Alisson Becker goalkeeper
Alisson Becker
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