This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
When Alisson was substituted in the 37th minute in Liverpool’s opening Premier League fixture against Norwich fans would have rightly felt concerned, but Adrian’s presence means the Brazilian isn’t missed.
For many teams, losing a player who was named the FIFA Best Goalkeeper of the Year would have been a severe setback.
Alisson helped to transform the Liverpool defence last season and it was little surprise that he kept the most clean sheets in the division with 21, as well as achieving a shut-out in the Champions League final.
Despite the blow, Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost just once since in seven games, but crucially have got off to a 100% start in the Premier League with six wins from six, and Adrian has played his part in that.
The Spaniard quickly became an Anfield favourite with his penalty shoot-out heroics in the Super Cup against Chelsea, but barring an error which allowed Danny Ings to score in the following game he hasn’t put a foot wrong.
In fact, he has done quite the opposite in his performances with eye-catching saves against Napoli and Chelsea, and for that reason he deserves to keep his place in the side.
It would be a bold call from Klopp. The Brazil international, who has 42 caps, is a fans’ favourite and his shot-stopping has been of a high standard since he arrived at the club, with an average of 1.8 saves per league game last year.
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Equally as impressive is his ability with the ball at his feet, as his short pass success of 98% suggests, but despite that, it would be unfair on Adrian to lose his place, and his morale could take a knock as a result.
More importantly, however, is the fact Adrian deserves his place in the team on merit. The Reds may have conceded a goal in five of their six league matches, but there was little the 30-year-old could do about all but one of those, and he has instead helped his side win points with key first-half saves against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Adrian has also performed better than Alisson in terms of distribution so far, with an average of 6.6 distributions per game as opposed to the Brazilian’s 5.3, and that aspect of his game could persuade Klopp to stick with him as Liverpool often look to break quickly through the pace of their forwards.