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17th Jul 2018

Liverpool cautiously optimistic of completing world-record deal for Alisson

Melissa Reddy

Liverpool are cautiously optimistic of securing a world record deal for Roma goalkeeper Alisson, who is valued at £66 million and has been a long-term target for Jurgen Klopp.

Talks have been progressing well between the clubs, with the Premier League side’s initial offer, which is inclusive of add-ons, short of the asking price by £4m.

Early indications are that the Brazil international is enthused by moving to Anfield and is appreciative of the work the Merseysiders have put into the pursuit since last year, while Roma are open to a sale.

However, Liverpool are minded by the fact that Chelsea may push for the 25-year-old in response to Real Madrid’s desire to recruit Thibaut Courtois.

The Blues have already demonstrated their capability of gazumping a rival in this window. They signed Jorginho from Napoli despite Manchester City believing they had the transfer long wrapped up. Roma would welcome an auction to maximise their profit.

The blockbuster fee for Alisson would almost double the British-record fee for a goalkeeper, with his fellow countryman Ederson having cost Pep Guardiola’s side £34.7m last summer.

The asking price also eclipses the €52m Juventus parted with to bring in Gianluigi Buffon from Parma in 2001 by €23m.

Liverpool had been reluctant to agree to such an outlay months ago, informing Alisson’s representative Ze Maria Neis in February that the cost was too high. 

This was after their checks on the gloveman were rebuffed in the winter window.

The need to recruit a pedigreed player between the sticks has only escalated since, with Loris Karius making two awful errors in the 3-1 Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

The German suffered a concussion in the game, with Klopp stating the club did not “use it as an excuse” but “as an explanation” for his performance.

Before then, however, it had already been decided that the goalkeeping department required a sizeable upgrade.

Simon Mignolet, who has made 202 appearances for Liverpool, has never truly convinced as a first-choice option.

Karius, one short of a half-century of games for the club, has struggled to shake off that display in Kiev during pre-season.

The 25-year-old has been the target of ironic applause from his own supporters and ridicule from that of the opposition. The various challenges facing him are obvious and arduous.

Danny Ward, who will start against Blackburn Rovers on Thursday, has only been been afforded three competitive run-outs thus far.

If a deal for Allison is completed, it will represent a severe strengthening of the weakest area in Liverpool’s squad.

Meanwhile, highly rated teenager Rhian Brewster signed his first professional contract with the club on Tuesday on a five-year basis.

Taiwo Awoniyi, 20, also penned new terms, but the striker is due to go out on loan, while Harry Wilson has linked up with Frank Lampard’s Derby County for a season-long spell.