It was with a degree of modesty that Alisson Becker handled the question as to how he matches up to Manuel Neuer.
“I can’t compare myself with Neuer,” the Liverpool goalkeeper said of Bayern Munich’s No 1. “He’s one of the best of the last 10 years, maybe the best. He won everything and I am just starting. He is a reference for me, and a great guy. To play against him is a dream come true.”
Neuer is certainly a reference, in style and presence, for Alisson, his Brazilian team-mate Ederson, at Manchester City, and the renewed vogue to encourage sweeper-keepers, given the German was involving himself in the build-up more than a decade ago by pushing up the pitch and working hard on his distribution.
Alisson, at 26, and six years Neuer’s junior, has not the honours won by Bayern’s World Cup winner and six-time Bundesliga champion, but there is a strong claim that his form would suggest he is the equal of the man who will be making his 100th Champions League appearance.
In fairness, any discussion over who is the best goalkeeper in the world would involve him, Neuer, Ederson, Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak and David de Gea, of Manchester United.