LIVERPOOL

Alisson relief as Liverpool keep second consecutive clean sheet

Liverpool have tightened up at the back and kept back-to-back cleans for the first time since September. A run which Alisson is keen to continue.

Alisson lays down Liverpool challenge after first back-to-back clean sheets since September

Alisson feels Liverpool are finally gaining some consistencty in defence after the team secured back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in two and a half months at the Red Bull Arena last night. The European champions qualified for the Last 16 on Tuesday evening after beating Salzburg 0-2 with goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah.

It was also Liverpool's second consecutive clean sheet, following on from Saturday's 3-0 Premier League win at Bournemouth, a result that leaves the Reds eight points clear at the top of the table. Since losing the Community Shield on penalties in August, Klopp's side have only lost once in all competitions - a 2-0 defeat to Napoli in September - but their defence has nonetheless come under scrutiny following a run of 13 matches in which they conceded at least one goal.

Adrián's clean sheets

However, with the Reds having now recorded consecutive clean sheets for the first time since victories over MK Dons and Sheffield United at the end of September in which Adrián was between the sticks, not Alisson who was still out injured. The Brazilian hopes it's the start of another run in which the team doesn't concede.

"It was just a matter of time and of focus," the goalkeeper told Liverpoolfc.com when asked how their defence has improved. "The last two games, we were focused for the full game. Even if they had chances we were there, the defenders were there, and I was there to help the team. We just need to keep going with this focus because we know our quality and we know what we can do on the pitch when we put in our whole intensity. You need to do that for 90 minutes – it's hard, we know, but I think we showed we can do this."

Alisson in full flight

Big Ali keeps Salzburg contained

Alisson had to make a string of saves in the first half to keep Salzburg at bay before two goals in quick succession after the interval put Liverpool in control. "In the first half they made our job more difficult with their intensity they put in," he said. "They had chances, of course, but we neutralised them in the chances, I could make the saves. I'm happy with the result and happy with what we did on the pitch. It was a difficult game for us, but we did very well, everybody playing together and moving together, defending in a good way and attacking in a good way. I'm glad about the score, I'm glad about the clean sheet – but the three points were the most important thing we needed."

Give us a hug: Jürgen Klopp and Alisson after the Bournemouth game

Champions League Last 16 draw

Liverpool will find out who they will face in the next round in Monday's draw in Nyon.