The making of Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson

"Víctor Valdés liked to play with his feet a lot and so did I." Liverpool's Brazilian goalkeeper goes back to his roots.

Alisson Becker has enjoyed an excellent first season at Anfield
Alisson Becker has enjoyed an excellent first season at Anfield ©Getty Images

Alisson Becker has been a model of dependability for Liverpool in his first season at the club, providing memorable saves and five clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League.

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Having kept Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Barcelona at bay in the semi-finals, the ball-playing Brazilian tells UEFA.com about the formative experiences that shaped him into one of the world's best goalkeepers.

On his footballing childhood ...

Highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona
Highlights: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona

I loved playing with my older brother and my father. My favourite toy was always a football. We had a really small room in our house that had a mattress pushed under the bed – that was my bed. We'd push that mattress to the side: one of us would go on one side and shoot and the other would go in goal by the bed, defend and dive onto the mattress to save the ball. That was our game.

Then we moved house and had a garage with two doors. One went out into the road and the other led into the rest of the house. The doors were opposite each other, so we’d have a door each. If you had the ball you'd defend your goal and shoot towards the other.

On choosing to be a goalkeeper ...

Alisson with Roma last season
Alisson with Roma last season©AFP/Getty Images

It could be to do with my DNA, my blood. My great-grandfather was a goalkeeper – he wasn't professional, he played in the amateur league in my city [Novo Hamburgo]. My father would play with his friends where he worked. From an early age, we'd always go with him every week. After that, my brother started playing football. I always watched on in admiration.

When I started school, I played in defensive roles, as a holding midfielder. Then I went in goal, where I felt more comfortable.

On developing his craft ...

Víctor Valdés influenced Alisson's style
Víctor Valdés influenced Alisson's style©Getty Images

I always had coaches who allowed me to be free to evolve and try and help the team. Playing with strong centre-backs who know how to play helps a lot. If you're working with a centre-back who doesn't have those skills then you can be the best goalkeeper in the world but you won't be able to do much with your feet.

Barcelona always played short, fast balls out from the keeper. Víctor Valdés liked to play with his feet a lot and so did I. I always wanted to be a real part of the game.

On the semi-final comeback against Barcelona ...

I hear the Champions League anthem and the music gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. It evokes that feeling in a lot of people.

The memory of the Barcelona game will be with me forever. It's a story that I'll be telling my children and my grandchildren. Those are unforgettable moments in your life: they define you as a player.

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