On Tuesday evening, the Professional Footballers’ Association’s (PFA) Premier League Team of the Year for last season was officially announced, and there was one glaring omission: Alisson Becker.
Every season, players from every team in the top flight get the chance to vote on who has been the best in each position across the calendar year, culminating in an end-of-season ceremony where the best starting XI from the previous campaign is announced.
Liverpool have had their fair share of inclusions in recent times due to the brilliance of Jurgen Klopp’s side, but after a forgettable 2022/23 campaign, the Reds understandably received far fewer votes.
While always up for debate, the majority of the selected XI seems spot on. Champions Manchester City obviously have the most representation with five players – including PFA Players’ Player of the Year Erling Haaland.
Kieran Trippier and Harry Kane made the cut after stellar seasons, and Arsenal have a good amount of coverage too because of their part in the title race (even if it was cut short at the business end of the season).
You could argue that Mohamed Salah deserves to be in the team ahead of Bukayo Saka (who won the Young Player of the Year award). The Egyptian scored five more goals than the Englishman, as well as registering an extra assist – but given the circumstances of Arsenal’s season, it is a decision that fans could (grudgingly) understand.
However one choice that is bemusing Liverpool fans (and, in fact, many fans up and down the country) is Aaron Ramsdale’s inclusion ahead of Alisson.
No one doubts Ramsdale’s brilliance last year, he made some excellent saves. The difference is, however, that Alisson was by far Liverpool’s best player and dragged them up the table at times, while the Englishman was simply a cog in a well-oiled machine.
Alisson vs Aaron Ramsdale – 2022/23 comparison
If we first look at the bottom line statistics for last season, both players kept a respectable 14 clean sheets – joint second out of all of the goalkeepers in the league. However, Alisson did so in an underperforming defence and a midfield in desperate need of an overhaul, while Ramsdale did so in one of the best teams across the season.
Liverpool’s Brazilian also made 108 saves (13 more than Ramsdale), one of which was from a penalty.
The Arsenal man also made two errors leading to goals in 2022/23, compared to (you guessed it) zero for Alisson.
And when you take a deeper dive, it’s clear Alisson blows Arsenal’s number one out of the water.
Alisson conceded 43 goals (excluding penalties and own goals) across the Premier League 2022/23 season, but more importantly, he saved single-handedly saved Liverpool from conceding 10.1 goals across the campaign – which is worked out by taking away goals conceded from the post-shot expected goals that the Brazilian faced.
That puts him in the 97th percentile when compared with his peers in the top five football league’s and European competitions – an incredible feat, and one that undoubtedly propelled Liverpool up the table.
READ MORE: Where does Alisson Becker rank among the all-time greats?
While Ramsdale similarly conceded 43 goals from open play, excluding own goals, his post-shot expected goals are significantly worse than Alisson’s.
Based on the quality of shots he faced, the Englishman actually cost Arsenal two goals across the season – ranking him in only the 35th percentile amongst Europe’s top five leagues and European competitions.
So there’s a staggering 12.1 difference between the two players in terms of how many goals they saved their respective team, yet it’s Ramsdale who was voted as the best goal keeper in the division?
Ramsdale is by far the most controversial inclusion in the PFA TOTY, and fans are making their opinions heard across social media.
Ramsdale over Alisson as the best goalkeeper last season is crazy
Without Ali, we would have been in 11th
Without Ramsdale, Arsenal might have won the league pic.twitter.com/JLa7Km6HxY
— Liam (@LiamMLFC) August 29, 2023
Aaron Ramsdale being in the PL TOTY over Alisson or Leno is actually one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. Literally nonsensical. https://t.co/dxBrF24fPD
— Garrett Post (@ParrettGost) August 29, 2023
Don’t think you’ll find one Arsenal fan anywhere who wouldn’t instantly swop Ramsdale and 80 million for Alisson.
Arteta would absolutely snap your hand off for that
— John O Sullivan (@Corballyred) August 29, 2023
It seems, whatever metric you analyse, Liverpool’s number one had by far the better season and should have been voted into the best XI.
Even if you ignore all of the statistics and base it purely on the eye test, some of the saves Alisson pulls off on a weekly basis are out of this world. Take last week’s unbelievable save against Miguel Almiron as an example. Eddie Howe called the reflex stop of Almiron’s volley “one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
While the voting was long finalised before that particular wonder stop, this is the sort of thing Liverpool fans have become accustomed to witnessing week after week.
Regardless of what the Premier League thinks, Alisson remains arguably Liverpool most important player right now and the best keeper around.
And he has the best beard in the business too. There’s got to be an award for that, right?