Liverpool have struggled badly in the goalkeeper department in recent years but the situation appears to have finally been resolved this summer.
Jurgen Klopp convinced the Reds to splash out a then world-record £67 million fee on AS Roma’s Alisson Becker, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s best keepers.
The Brazil international is now Liverpool’s No. 1 goalkeeper ahead of both Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet, who have failed to convince on a consistent basis since arriving at Anfield.
Karius’s confidence remains shot to pieces after his disastrous performance in May’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.
On that ill-fated night in Kiev it became patently clear that Liverpool required a top-level keeper to boost their chances of winning silverware over the coming seasons.
They now have an elite keeper in the form of Alisson; however, there are some Liverpool fans who fear the South American could suffer under the guidance of the club’s current goalkeeper coach John Achterberg.
The 47-year-old, who spent most of his professional career playing in goal for Tranmere Rovers, has been with Liverpool since hanging up his boots in 2009.
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He was promoted to the role of first-team goalkeeping coach by Kenny Dalglish in 2011 and has retained that position under both Brendan Rodgers and Klopp.
The Dutchman has since worked with the likes of Pepe Reina, Alexander Doni, Peter Gulacsi, Brad Jones, Simon Mignolet, Adam Bogdan, Danny Ward and Karius over the past seven years and work now coach Alisson.
But some Liverpool fans are convinced that Achterberg’s coaching is one of the reasons the club’s goalkeepers have been so unreliable in recent seasons.
Klopp is acutely aware of this, it turns out, and has responded brilliantly in an interview with the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce.
“First of all, John is a goalkeeper maniac. He’s working constantly,” Klopp said. “It’s so easy. All the people in the pubs think they know and understand football 100%.
“But if you asked them: ‘What does a goalkeeper do?’ They couldn’t say more than ‘catch balls’. They have no clue about goalkeeper techniques and all that stuff.”
In fairness, he has a point. Everybody on social media or in the pub is a football coach in their heads – but there’s a big difference between fantasy and reality.
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The Liverpool boss continued: “John is the first in the building and the last to leave. No matter how early I get into Melwood, I get up the stairs and he’s already there – sat there with the laptop open watching goalkeepers from the other end of the world.
“He’s constantly in there developing, changing training programmes, working with the boys. For me, he’s a fantastic goalkeeper coach.
“There’s not any reason for criticism. He’s also a fantastic lad.”
Klopp feels Achterberg has been unfairly targeted for the shortcomings of Liverpool’s goalkeepers and believes it will be a different story with Alisson.
“I can understand that people are like this – if they haven’t been happy with goalkeepers in the last few years that they think John is the reason for it,” Klopp added.
“For sure, that’s not the case. Liverpool is a difficult goalkeeper place or hopefully it was a difficult goalkeeper place.
“Now we have found a solution that everyone is happy with – a fantastic goalkeeper.
“We are really happy in this moment and now we have to perform.”