The great thing about football is that nobody, not even the shrewdest of pundits, can tell you emphatically what will unfold over the course of 90 minutes.
Formula One fans know there is a strong chance that either Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen will win the Grand Prix, while cricket buffs know that when a test team takes on Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe the result is pretty much guaranteed to be a win for the other side.
But in football? Anything can, and invariably will, happen.
Maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised then when Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson rose like the proverbial salmon to head home a 95th minute winner against West Brom – that said, the scenes of jubilation that met his goal were as much tinged with disbelief as they were unbridled joy.
And who knows how important the Brazilian’s strike will be? It certainly gives Liverpool a much improved chance of finishing in the Champions League places – should they finish fourth, the Reds be guaranteed around £150 million, with an extra £75 million up for grabs in prize money in next season’s continental extravaganza.
So Alisson was in wonderland for good reason at the Hawthorns!
But how does the 28-year-old’s strike stack up when compared to other important strikes netted by goalkeepers?
The difference between being relegated from what is now League Two and not is worth far more than simply retaining full-time professional status.
For some clubs, and particularly those like Carlisle United that routinely punch above their weight, being relegated from the Football League could spell annihilation – as it has done for many other clubs before.
So the Cumbrians, who needed a final day win over Plymouth in 1999 to secure their status at the expense of Scarborough, whose point against Peterborough was, at the time, enough to see them stay up. Cue jubilant Seadogs fans dancing on the pitch at the end of their game.
However, further north there was to be more drama to come. The Cumbrians won a 95th minute corner and their then boss, Nigel Pearson, waved all of his players forward in an attempt to find an unlikely equaliser.
The crowded penalty area would be joined by Carlisle’s on-loan goalkeeper Jimmy Glass, and after a Carlisle effort was saved by the Plymouth keeper up popped Glass to shatter the hearts of Scarborough fans and secure his own place in Cumbrian folklore until the end of time.
Glass’ goal saved Carlisle and started an upturn that would latterly see them promoted and subsequently lose in the League One play-offs. As for Scarborough, well, relegation was just the beginning of their woes – they went out of business just eight years later.
While Glass’ goal may have saved Carlisle United from absolution, and Alisson’s goal may have powered Liverpool to a Champions League place, the importance of Ricardo’s goal cannot be overstated.
He had the eyes of a nation on him as he lined up to take a spot kick in an edge-of-the-seat penalty shootout against England at Euro 2004.
With a place in the semi-finals of the tournament up for grabs, Ricardo wasn’t the eleventh taker for Portugal – oh no, he stepped up as the seventh taker as his country, where Euro 2004 was hosted no less, waited with everything crossed.
And the shot stopper made no mistake, belting his penalty past a helpless David James to condemn England to yet another shootout defeat and book Portugal a spot in the last four.
In a cruel twist, Portugal made it to the final in front of their adoring public, but they would go on to lose to Greece in what remains as one of the most extraordinary shocks in football history.
Some of the strikes netted by goalkeepers on this list are famous for a specific period of time – some, however, are timeless.
In 2017/18, plucky minnows Benevento were enjoying their first ever season in Italy’s Serie A. We say ‘enjoyed’, really it was a horror show – they lost all of their opening 14 games in the top flight.
They were heading to a fifteenth too at the hands of a classy AC Milan outfit, but with a 1-2 deficit and heading into the dying embers of injury time, Alberto Brignoli in the Benevento goal had a bright idea.
He looked to the bench, got the nod and charged forward for a 95th minute free kick. The ball was curled into a mass of bodies and leaping highest of all was Brignoli. He could only watch on in astonishment as his header nestled in the back of the net – the final whistle blew just seconds later, and the goalkeeper had secured his club’s first ever Serie A point.
There are goalkeepers that have netted an important goal at some point in their career, but how about a number one that has netted and assisted crucial goals in the same campaign.
Scott Barrett, who plied his trade for Colchester United during the 1991/92 season, is the proud owner of that incredible distinction. First, his long wind-assisted punt upfield found its way into the Wycombe Wanderers goal – months later, the Us were promoted from the Vauxhall Conference at the expense of Wycombe….on goal difference, believe it or not.
If that Roy of the Rovers storyline wasn’t enough for you, Barrett nodded on an injury time corner for a late Tony English equaliser in an FA Trophy game against Kingstonian – amazingly, Colchester won the replay and went on to lift the cup just weeks later.
Eat your heart out Alisson!