When Adrian was released by West Ham last summer, it was a move that few batted an eye at. The former Real Betis goalkeeper had appeared in 125 games for the Hammers but fallen down the pecking order at the club.
Lukasz Fabianski had usurped Adrian in the West Ham team and seeing other options available influenced the club to let the goalie to leave for free while signing Roberto Jimenez as back up.
So, when Liverpool signed Adrian as Alisson Becker’s back up following Simon Mignolet’s departure to Club Brugge, it appeared a decent move. Yet, you would be hard-pressed to find a supporter expecting to see Adrian get much playing time.
Alisson had just come off of a career season playing a major role in Liverpool’s Champions League win. But less than a half of Premier League football was played before Adrian had his chance to fill in between the sticks.
Alisson’s calf injury against Norwich City on opening night saw Adrian play a pivotal role in the early stages of Liverpool’s season. Just a week later the Spaniard was making saves in a penalty shootout against Chelsea and helping Liverpool lift the UEFA Super Cup.
In a funny twist of fate (not so funny for West Ham fans), Fabianski went down with a hip injury forcing Roberto into goal. While Adrian lifted a trophy and became an important part of the Reds during Alisson’s absence, Roberto struggled with West Ham, overseeing seven games and winning zero of them. Last weekend, Roberto was finally axed with David Martin playing and helping West Ham to a 1-0 win over Chelsea.
Football is a crazy sport and almost anything can happen, and that showed once more over the weekend when Alisson was sent off for handling a ball outside of his own box. It was a move that was unnecessary as Alisson came storming out of his goal just as Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren converged to pinch Brighton’s attacker.
Alisson rush of blood was a poor decision which has typified his season for the shot-stopper. Injuries and form have made Alisson look much different than the man from last season. Yes, Alisson has made some excellent saves and there is no argument against him being Liverpool’s undisputed No. 1. Yet, the cool and calm Brazilian that played last term that Liverpool fans know has not been on display every game since his return from injury.
Liverpool were cruising against Brighton for 75 minutes without the visitors having a sniff of goal. Suddenly, Liverpool were just a goal up, down a man, and on the back foot. Brighton’s goal was opportunistic and it is hard to blame Adrian completely as the defenders in front of him should have been more switched on.
Adrian will step into goal on Wednesday night for his first-ever Merseyside Derby. The 32-year-old shot-stopper has recorded two clean sheets this season in the league. It is two more clean sheets than Alisson has kept for the Reds.
Adrian’s unexpected season will continue and if the Reds are able to pick up another trophy this season, the goalkeeper will certainly have played a major part in the team’s success.