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Talking Tactics

Why Alisson and De Gea rank among the best goalkeepers

Adrian Clarke 14 Apr 2022

Adrian Clarke highlights the shot-stopping abilities of two key figures as Liverpool host Man Utd

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 33.

Alisson (LIV) & David De Gea (MUN)

Liverpool’s world-class forward line receives plenty of plaudits, but goalkeeper Alisson has also played a pivotal role in their impressive title charge.

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The Brazilian, who is level with compatriot Ederson on 17 clean sheets in the race for the Golden Glove, has produced a string of match-changing saves since the turn of the year.

In 1v1s, Alisson has been a man-mountain, standing tall to make a number of unlikely stops while also using his legs to great effect.

Now facing a talented Manchester United side who have only failed to score in one Premier League away match this season, the 29-year-old could once again be an influential figure at Anfield.

Goalkeeper save ratios*
Save ratio Shots inside box save ratio
Sa 79.1% Sa 75.7%
Alisson 75.6% Alisson 75.4%
Mendy 74.4% Sanchez 66.7%
Ramsdale 73.3% De Gea 66.4%
De Gea 71.8% Guaita 65.2%

*Ahead of last weekend's matches

Alisson and his United counterpart De Gea have enjoyed stellar individual campaigns.

Both feature inside the league's top five for the best save ratios, with the Liverpool No 1 impressing in particular with his saves made from shots inside the box. His 75.4 per cent success rate is extraordinarily high.

For context, Alisson’s save record from shots inside the box last season was 65.5 per cent, and in 2019/20 it was 58.2 per cent. Reacting sharper than ever to pull off difficult stops, he is arguably in the form of his life.

Stepping up

While Man Utd have had a largely underwhelming season, De Gea has been consistently excellent.

Remarkably, he has been the league's second-busiest goalkeeper, making over 100 saves, second only to Illan Meslier's 118 for Leeds United. He has also improved on his own save statistics from the past two seasons.

Providing glimpses of the magic we saw regularly earlier in his United career, De Gea has stepped up for his side on numerous occasions to make agile saves.

According to Opta, he has prevented four additional goals in 2021/22 that Man Utd would have been expected to concede based on the quality of the chance and shot.

Most goals prevented*
2021/22 Goals prevented
Jose Sa 10.2
David De Gea 4.0
Ederson 1.8
Alisson 1.7
Aaron Ramsdale 1.7
Edouard Mendy 1.7

*Ahead of last weekend's matches

Over the years, De Gea has been regarded as one of the best in the world at making saves with his feet, but this season it is his agility which has stood out most.

Making 57 diving saves, just five fewer than Alisson, he has consistently showcased his speed and reflexes.

Alisson’s forte has been to parry efforts aimed in his direction.

Alisson v De Gea comparison*
2021/22 Alisson De Gea
Total saves 62 111
Total saves with feet 6 10
Ratio with feet 9.7% 9.0%
Diving saves 22 57
Diving saves ratio 35.5% 51.4%
Caught/collected 20 45
Ratio caught/collected 32.3% 40.5%
Parried 42 66

*Ahead of last weekend's matches

By the end of the season, Liverpool and Man Utd’s respective campaigns are likely to be viewed very differently.

But from a goalkeeping perspective, Alisson and De Gea will both look back on their performances with pride.

Liverpool and Man Utd both have excellent goalkeepers who are right at the top of their game.

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