Liverpool Football Club has a long history of winning titles. However, as pretty much everyone on the planet knows: Liverpool haven’t won a Premier League title and are without a league title since 1990.
Despite this, Liverpool have regularly gone down to the wire with Manchester teams to try and win the elusive first title. Liverpool lost out to Manchester United in 2009 by four points; Manchester City by two points in 2014 and it will be one point in 2019 if neither side drops points in the last few games.
To try and stray away from the stresses that come hand-in-hand with a title race. We at TheAnfieldTalk have decided to take an extended look at what a combined XI would look like from the last three Liverpool sides to go close to winning the title.
In this first piece, we’ll be looking at who should be in-between the sticks of our combined XI. We’re looking at the goalkeepers.
2008/09: Pepe Reina – 20 clean sheets, 38 apps.
In what was the last defensively solid Liverpool team before Virgil van Dijk, Pepe Reina was one of the most important puzzle pieces.
The Spaniard was a goalkeeper before his time. He had a solid ability with his feet in a time that it wasn’t really to be expected from a goalkeeper. Not only that, he was a top-level shot-stopper and was quite possibly the best goalkeeper in the league at that point.
Reina was one of only 20 players in the league to start every game in 2008/09. He provided a much-needed consistency to the Liverpool back line.
Reina was also fully in love with the club, the season before his departure he claimed that he wanted to stay at Liverpool for another “five or six years.”
Unfortunately that wasn’t to be as Brendan Rodgers sought to build his own Liverpool team and Reina was one of the figures that suffered as a result of this.
People questioned Rodgers’ decision to let the Spaniard leave the club, initially on loan in 2013, with the next guy coming in to replace him as number one.
2013/14: Simon Mignolet – 10 clean sheets, 38 apps.
…or number 22 in the case of Simon Mignolet.
Mignolet came into the side as part of a £9m deal with Sunderland in the summer before Liverpool’s 2013/14 campaign.
Everything seemed so good from the outset, opening the season with three clean sheets in 1-0 wins. The first of which needed a penalty save from the Belgian.
He then went on to only manage another seven clean sheets in the 35 remaining fixtures. Liverpool narrowly lost out to Manchester City and the defence was one of the biggest reasons why.
The 2013/14 Liverpool squad constantly performed in an attacking sense, however, scorelines would regularly end up reading something like Liverpool 4, Swansea City 3 or Cardiff City 3, Liverpool 6.http://gty.im/626721022
The attacking aspect of the side bailed out the defence on many occasions and that inevitably lead to Liverpool losing out on the title.
2018/19: Alisson Becker – 18* clean sheets, 34* apps.
After joining Liverpool from Roma for a then world record fee for a goalkeeper, Alisson Becker has stolen the hearts of Liverpool fans everywhere.
The Brazilian goalkeeper has walked straight into the first team, usurping Loris Karius as the first choice. He has played a huge part in Liverpool becoming the best defensive team in Europe.
The way Alisson commands his penalty area is unlike any goalkeeper that Liverpool have had in recent years. Both Mignolet and Karius were shaky and you always felt they were capable of making a mistake.
Whilst Alisson does have his heart-in-mouth moments from time to time, he always seems so calm and collected. Like he’s actually in control.
Every single cog in the Liverpool defensive machine this season has been imperative and Alisson is vital to the team only conceding 20 goals in 34 Premier League games.
*four games left to play
Our pick: Alisson Becker
As much as we would love to go with the sentimental pick in Pepe Reina; we simply cannot deny the impact that Alisson Becker has had on the Liverpool side since arriving last summer.
This may be a case of recency bias but in an age when goalkeepers are expected to do so much more than previously expected of them, Alisson is the most complete goalkeeper of the three title challenging sides.