Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but just sit back and wallow in some sheer undiluted Barclays.
We were 20 seconds away from having nothing to talk about apart from the ineffectiveness of Liverpool’s huffing and puffing, musings about whether they really deserved a crack at Champions League football after the season they’ve produced, analysis of Large Samuel’s record of pulling Liverpool’s pants down and some golden boot chatter of interest to quite literally nobody apart from Harry Kane and Mo Salah themselves.
Then it happened. Alisson Wonderland. The man in black becoming, by our reckoning, the first man to score a Premier League goal while wearing a trouser. Definitely the first Premier League goalkeeper to score a header.
That last bit is genuinely key to all this. It’s not just that it’s Alisson, who has been through so much recently. It’s not just that it’s Liverpool, a club of such size that anything they do for better or worse will always be amplified, and it’s not just that it was a crucial 95th-minute winner that may well have dire consequences for the loser of Tuesday night’s clash between Chelsea and Leicester while keeping Liverpool’s season alive.
It’s all of those things and more. Because it is without question the best goal scored in the Premier League by a goalkeeper. It is, in everything apart from the scorer’s attire, an entirely proper goal. It’s a great header. It’s a real actual proper goal.
There are two types of goals that goalkeepers score in the Premier League. The long clearance horribly misjudged by the opposite number – think of your Tim Howards or your Paul Robinsons and the Asmir Begovics of this world. Alternatively there is the keeper-up-for-late-corner goal, which usually involves panic, a crowd scene, some undignified six-yard-box pinball and a scuffed finish.
What they never are is properly good goals like this one was. There’s a reasonable argument that keepers should do better when they go up for late corners because the opposition are thrown. There’s an extra man to deal with and nobody knows whose responsibility he is. The fact goalkeepers so rarely actually do score from these corners is because they’re rubbish at it as it is not their job.
Alisson was having none of that, gambolling unopposed into the West Brom penalty box after what seemed like quite a late decision to go for it and then arching his back and flexing those neck muscles to send a picture-perfect header into the far corner.
With all due respect to Chelsea and Leicester, it feels quite important that Liverpool do now actually qualify for next season’s Champions League and ideally win it. It would have been quite funny anyway given how staggeringly bad they have been at times during this campaign, but it’s now on a different level altogether. It’s only five days since Liverpool fans were wailing and gnashing their teeth about the Manchester United line-up against Leicester. Barclays comes at you fast.