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Champions League

Even strikers couldn’t better Alisson’s perfect header – Eymael praises Liverpool keeper after West Brom winner

The Brazil international keeper was the unlikely scorer for the Reds as they beat the Baggies to main their Champions League hopes

Luc Eymael has described Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker as a complete professional player after scoring the match-winning goal in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion in a Premier League game on Sunday.

The Reds had started the game at the Hawthorns on the back foot, allowing the Baggies to open the scoring as early as the 15th minute through Hal Robson-Kanu, but Egyptian international Mohamed Salah then combined well with Sadio Mane to level proceedings for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

With the game looking to end in a draw, goalkeeper Allison stepped out from his box for a corner kick and powered a fine header into the back of the net to ensure his side secured all three points.

The Belgian tactician, who has handled teams across Africa including Kenya’s AFC Leopards and Tanzania’s Yanga SC, has told Goal, Alisson’s goal reminded him of his playing time when he scored for his team by using his leg, but described the Brazilian custodian as among the best in the world.

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“He is one the best goalkeepers in the world, with Manuel [Neuer] of Germany with Thibaut [Courtois] of Belgium and a good goalkeeper is a keeper who is decisive,” Eymael told Goal from his base in Belgium on Monday.

“For example, if you have two balls to save during the game, you have to save them to maintain a clean sheet behind, and it is how you can be decisive and how you can win points for your team.

“Sometimes you take a risk as he [Alisson] did and because they absolutely needed that win and Alisson showed his professional character his winning mentality, and he went for the corner and scored a very beautiful header, I think any striker could do better than he did with his perfect heading.”

In Liverpool’s long history – the club was founded in 1892 – never before that moment had a goalkeeper found the net for the club in a competitive game and furthermore, Alisson became the first Premier League goalkeeper to score with a headed effort.

But Alisson is the sixth goalkeeper to score in the English top-flight since 1992.

Manchester United’s Peter Schmeichel was the first goalkeeper to score in the Premier League, doing so against Everton for Aston Villa in 2001 – nearly a decade after the league’s formation. He volleyed home a corner.

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Brad Friedel, Paul Robinson, Tim Howard, and Asmir Begovic have also done so, with Begovic the most recent when he netted in 2013 for Stoke City against Southampton – until Alisson’s dramatic strike.

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