Alisson Becker was recommended to Liverpool by their former goalkeeper Doni two years before he eventually signed, when he was available for just £7m.
The Brazil superstar was eventually bought from Roma in 2018 for £66.8m and has gone on to become an integral part of Liverpool’s success and arguably the best goalkeeper in the world.
He could have been at Anfield a couple of years earlier, though, if the club had listened to Doni who got in contact to recommend his countryman to his former side.
Doni, who played for Liverpool from 2011-13, had spotted Alisson playing for Internacional in Brazil but the Reds saw him as too much of a gamble.
Instead, Roma swooped to buy the stopper, then 23-years-old, for just €7.5m, before selling him on to Liverpool two years later for an enormous profit.
‘I referred Alisson to Liverpool before Roma bought him!’ Doni told ESPN. ‘Liverpool had a chance to buy him a lot cheaper. I referred the club’s goalkeeper coach John Achterberg, but they decided not to sign,
‘At the time, they told me they wanted a more concrete goalkeeper. Liverpool is not a betting player, as Roma bet on me and Alisson.
‘When you take a goalkeeper out of Brazilian football and take him to Europe, he arrives surrounded by doubt. There were many more doubts in the past, it is true. In my day, even, hiring Brazilian goalkeeper was seen as crazy, because it was not normal
‘The goalkeeper coach liked Alisson very much when I indicated, but whoever decides whether to hire or not is the board, along with the owners of the club. It is a methodology that is little based on consultations and is more direct. And it is very different from Roma, who has the system in which who decides whether to hire or not is the sporting director along with the coach.’
‘I am very happy for the success he had at Roma and for his achievements at Liverpool,’ continued the 41-year-old. ‘He is a player who has become the best goalkeeper in the world.
‘I support him a lot, even though I don’t know him personally. He gives the impression of being a very nice guy , and is becoming a very important athlete in the history of goalkeepers.’