Liverpool Opinion: Alex McCarthy would be a good enough understudy to Alisson at Anfield
Mignolet and Loris Karius shared the No.1 role between the sticks at Anfield in the 2017-18 season but it has been all one-way traffic since the start of the previous campaign, with Brazilian international Alisson establishing himself as the undisputed first-choice under Jurgen Klopp.
Alisson, who was brought in from Roma last summer as a part of Liverpool’s spending spree, played a key role with the gloves this past season, as the Reds finished runners-up to Man City in the Premier League and clinched the Champions League title.
The Brazilian’s dominance in goal led to the sidelining of former No.1 Simon Mignolet, who made only one FA Cup and one League Cup appearance for Liverpool over the course of the previous campaign.
Mignolet’s desire to leave the club is quite understandable, given that a goalkeeper of his quality deserves to play a lot more at the highest level. Liverpool are expected to demand a sizeable fee for the ex-No.1 but, with the likes of Watford, Norwich City, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth all weighing up moves for the 31-year-old, one cannot help but feel that Liverpool are not going to have the luxury of having the hugely experienced Belgian as Alisson’s understudy next season. (h/t Daily Mail)
Alex McCarthy is not the only goalkeeper to have been linked with a move to Anfield in recent weeks, with the Daily Mail breaking the news that the Reds had made an enquiry about the availability of Cardiff City shot-stopper Neil Etheridge. However, as the reports suggest, Liverpool have now turned their attention towards Southampton’s McCarthy, as the search for an understudy to Alisson goes on.
The 29-year-old started as the No.1 between the sticks at St. Mary’s last term but a poor run of form coupled with the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl saw Angus Gunn finish the campaign as the new No.1 for the Saints. McCarthy conceded as many as 44 goals in 25 Premier League games for Southampton, managing just 4 clean sheets in the process.
While those numbers do not flatter whatsoever, Southampton as a unit underperformed in the first half of the last season under Mark Hughes, meaning that McCarthy’s performances weren’t that horrible after all. In fact, the 29-year-old made his England debut in a 3-0 victory over the United States at Wembley last year, almost six years to the day he received his first ever international call-up.
A youth graduate of Reading, McCarthy has enjoyed a nomadic career across the various divisions of English football, featuring for the likes of non-league sides Woking and Cambridge, Leeds United and Ipswich Town in the Championship, as well as for QPR, Southampton and Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
However, he has struggled to establish himself as the undisputed first-choice at St. Mary’s following his 2016 move from Palace, making just 50 appearances for the Saints in all competitions.
To put things into perspective, Southampton already have the likes of Fraser Forster and Angus Gunn in their ranks, so the Saints might be tempted to cash in on McCarthy should Liverpool come up with a good enough offer.
Although the chances of the 29-year-old playing regularly at Anfield look very slim, the prospect of playing for the Champions League winners might as well appeal to McCarthy, who remains hopeful of adding to his solitary England cap.
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With all due respect to Alisson, it is a no-brainer that Liverpool cannot afford to embark on the upcoming season with one senior goalkeeper in their ranks. McCarthy, though not a world-beater by any means, would be more than a useful back-up for Alisson, with Mignolet’s departure looking inevitable.
Having spent a fortune last summer, Liverpool look set for a quiet transfer window this time around following an incredible run in the Premier League and Champions League this past season. However, the arrival of Alex McCarthy would add much-needed depth in a key area for Jurgen Klopp.