A month that began with a nomination for the 2018 Ballon d'Or ended with a celebratory post-match sing-song for Alisson Becker.
The goalkeeper was one of four Liverpool players – alongside Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – to be included on the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious individual accolade in early October.
His selection came as recognition for the form with AS Roma and Brazil that preceded his switch to the Reds last summer and for the impressive start he has made at Anfield.
That continued at the weekend when Jürgen Klopp’s side claimed a 4-1 victory over Cardiff City that stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to 10 games and kept them alongside Manchester City at the summit.
Later on Saturday, Alisson joined several of his teammates in toasting not just the win but also the 25th birthday of compatriot Fabinho by taking to the mic for a song or three – as posted on social media by the man himself.
So there was plenty to talk about when the No.13 sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for an interview this week, and you can enjoy part one of the chat below…
It was another positive result for Liverpool on Saturday; 10 games into the Premier League season now, are you on track with your objectives as a team?
It’s a really important season for us, one of high expectations. There are already high expectations on us given our quality, and we have demonstrated this with only one defeat in the Champions League and we are unbeaten in the Premier League having achieved important results. So I definitely believe that we’re on the right track but it’s too early to get excited; we have to keep our feet on the ground. We know it’s going to be really difficult this season given the quality of the other teams and we know how difficult it is to win this league. We have to fight a great deal, taking it game by game and step by step to do everything right and continue on the trajectory we’re on at the moment.
Despite the 4-1 result, as a goalkeeper did you still come off the pitch a little bit frustrated with conceding a goal?
I came off the pitch very angry, definitely, for having conceded. The objective for the entire team is a clean sheet so it’s frustrating to have conceded. But the most important thing is the result; the victory is more important for me. It is mixed emotions – you’re angry at having conceded but that soon blows over and the victory is the most beneficial thing to us. We were really unlucky with the goal we conceded, it was a deflection and there was nothing really the defence could have done. We need to work hard and continue on this trajectory. We’re definitely on the right track.
There’s a sense from the outside that there is a lot more to come from the team as the season progresses. Is that something the players agree with?
We know we can improve on the pitch and I think that’s a positive thing, taking into account the campaign we’ve had up until now – joint-leaders with Manchester City – and there is still room for growth, both technically and tactically. It’s a positive thing for us and a positive thing we can work towards, so we’re always aware it’s a difficult league and we can give everything on the pitch. That’s our biggest challenge: to continue growing and continue to get better, so when other clubs maybe have a dip or have peaked, we can continue getting better and doing our best on the pitch.
You shared some footage on Saturday night from a singing session with some of your teammates – tell us a bit more about that…
It was a surprise birthday party organised by Fabinho’s wife, attended by his family and those closest to him – the Brazilians and Alberto [Moreno], who is always with us. There was a band there and I really like singing and I play the guitar; all the lads like to have a laugh as well. We all had a sing-song and took the opportunity to celebrate the important victory we’d had that day as well. We certainly had a great time.
How has it helped you to have fellow Brazilians at the club? Does it influence your game on the pitch in a positive way?
It helps a lot, mainly with settling in. It’s not easy to come from one place – a city and a culture – and come to another country. The weather is different, everything changes; you have to adapt to everything, a new language. So having the Brazilians here does help. It helps me and helps my family settle in as well. My wife socialises a lot with my Brazilian teammates’ wives as well. That’s really important and it helps me, knowing my family are well and there’s a wider support network for them, even though the club provides us with everything we need. I have a great relationship with all my teammates here but it’s always good to have a piece of home, our country, with us.
You were nominated for the 2018 Ballon d’Or earlier this month – how proud did that make you, particularly as there aren’t many goalkeepers who are included?
It was a great honour to be nominated; realistically as a goalkeeper it’s hard to be nominated and even harder to actually win it. I had a great season last season but I don’t think it was sufficient to win the Ballon d’Or! But I feel really honoured to have been nominated. My objective isn’t to achieve personal awards; my aim is to win titles with the club – last season with Roma, this season with Liverpool. I’m really happy with the way we’re working, this continuity is really important.