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Jurgen Klopp needs to either get Alisson now or identity a Plan B

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How close is Alisson to making a move to Liverpool? (2:04)

Gab Marcotti and the ESPN FC crew discuss how far along Liverpool are in their contract negotiations with Roma's Alisson. (2:04)

You'd think given their glaring need for a new goalkeeper that Liverpool would be heavily linked to anyone with a pair of gloves this summer, yet journalists most closely connected to the club only seem to be mentioning one man; Roma's Brazilian shot-stopper Alisson.

Alisson's rise has been rather sudden. A little over a year ago he was Wojciech Szczesny's backup and did not become the starter until the former Arsenal man left to join Juventus. After only a couple of months as Roma's number one, Alisson's value had soared and there was talk of Liverpool preparing a massive January offer for him.

That offer never materialised as Jurgen Klopp instead gave Loris Karius a chance to prove himself, but the speculation never went away and has intensified in recent weeks following the meltdown suffered by Karius in the Champions League final last month.

Alisson's main credentials appear to be that he is Brazil's number one and by definition better than Manchester City's Ederson, his understudy in the international setup.

That might not actually be the case though. Roberto Firmino is being kept out of the very same Brazil side by Gabriel Jesus, but you'd be hard pressed to find any "Kopite" who would take the City youngster over their beloved "Bobby".

International managers occasionally get these things wrong, even the great ones. Who could forget Sir Alex Ferguson not taking Alan Hansen to the 1986 World Cup? The Liverpool skipper would have walked into almost any team in the world at that time yet he couldn't get into Scotland's. Yes, it's been 32 years and I really ought to let it go, but what can I say, it still rankles.

Getting back to the matter at hand though, being better than Ederson isn't really that big an accomplishment. The City 'keeper had a good first season in England but he's no David De Gea. The Manchester United man is the benchmark for all goalkeepers in the Premier League, and currently no one in England comes close.

Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak is up there, but is Alisson in the conversation too? His price tag suggests so. Liverpool seem to agree as the suggestion from the Merseyside press is that Klopp has his heart set on the Brazilian and refuses to consider alternatives, in much the same way he did with Virgil van Dijk.

Klopp's "Van Dijk or no one" stance a year ago was as admirable as it was risky, but taking the same approach with Alisson would be a far greater gamble given Liverpool's obvious need for a goalkeeper.

Last August, Klopp challenged a room full of journalists to "tell me five (centre-backs) that would make us stronger. Five. Then you win a prize." If he asks that same question about goalkeepers he might be there for a while and he'd better be prepared to give out a lot of prizes.

There was a belated happy ending to the Van Dijk chase as the defender arrived in January and made exactly the kind of impact Klopp expected. Some still believe that Klopp should have addressed the issue in the summer while still going for Van Dijk in January, but the German doesn't operate like that.

There are goalkeepers out there who are better than those Liverpool already have, but unless Klopp sees them as being a clear upgrade (like Alisson) the feeling is that he'd rather stick with what he has. It makes sense; why pay £40 million for Jack Butland if he is only a bit better than the man he would be replacing?

Before the Champions League final that approach was fine, but the extraordinary events in Kiev changed everything, certainly for the fans. We can only guess how Klopp feels but there are very few Kopites who would be ok with the club not signing anybody if for whatever reason they are unable to land Alisson.

Turning to Simon Mignolet again is surely out of the question. He lost his place because he was not the answer and nothing has changed in that regard.

Twenty-four-year-old Karius hasn't hit his ceiling yet, but after his nightmare showing against Real Madrid perhaps he never will. Suffering such humiliation on the grandest of stages is not an easy thing to come back from. Not only does he need to rebuild his own confidence, he must also win back the trust of his teammates and the crowd.

He will be under the most intense scrutiny imaginable and any mistake, no matter how small, will be magnified. As much as Klopp might want to keep faith with his young compatriot, it would be a distraction the team could do without.

Karius may still have an Anfield future but he cannot be counted on for next season, so if Klopp genuinely is thinking only of Alisson then he'd better be prepared to pay whatever it takes to get the Brazilian, or else be willing to change his mind.

The incredible success of Mohamed Salah at Anfield makes a deal for Alisson far more difficult. Roma feel they were short changed by the Reds over the Egyptian so Alisson won't come cheap. It might even take a fee close to the £75m it took to land Van Dijk.

That seems excessive, but that's what many said about the Van Dijk fee, too. Nobody says that anymore after seeing the Dutchman completely transform Liverpool's previously shaky backline.

For a genuinely world-class goalkeeper almost no price is too high. Whether Alisson is in that bracket is for Klopp to decide, but if he believes he is then he should pay whatever it takes to get him.

If he is not sure, if Real Madrid swoop in or if Roma simply refuse to sell, then Klopp must look for an alternative because sticking with what he has is simply not an option. Not this time.