When Liverpool snapped up Loris Karius from Klopp’s former club, Mainz, for just £4.5 million in the summer it seemed a terrific acquisition, backed up the fact that he was voted the second best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season, only behind Manuel Neuer.
After countless poor performances from Simon Mignolet, Reds fans were jumping for joy when they appeared to sign a red hot shot- stopper.
It hasn’t quite worked out the way Jürgen Klopp had envisaged however.
Liverpool supporters were granted their wish, as it became apparent that the former Mainz keeper was going to enter the fray and take the place in goal ahead of Mignolet, with many pleading for the Belgian international to be removed as soon as possible. The tables have turned now though as they are now demanding for him to replace the out of form German, ironically.
Karius has only played on ten occasions this season in the league, with not much to do in his first few games. But, as time progressed, he had more and more to do on each outing, and as the pressure mounted, he crumbled.
Kicking the ball out of play by accident, spilling shots, poor positioning, lack of authority in goal, not saving easy shots. etc, all things Liverpool fans had become accustomed to under Mignolet, who was so brutally criticised. German players are renowned for being reliable and efficient, Karius was not doing this claim any justice however.
At such a young age of 23, many have shown empathy for Karius, saying he will turn things around, some have been less remorseful.
Most notably: The Neville brothers.
After Gary Neville heavily criticised the keeper post-match vs Bournemouth on Sky Sports, the German international fought back in an interview that was pre planned before his dismal Bournemouth display, where he replied “I don’t need to listen to a failed manager”. Gary’s brother, Phil, obviously was offended by those remarks by Karius as he added fuel to the fire, sending a message to the goalkeeper whilst on Match of the Day.
“When you’re a young player, you do your training, you work as hard as you can, play on a Saturday and you say nothing to no one! Keep your mouth shut and do your job!”
Another man to have his say on things is of course the man who signed him, Klopp.
Klopp was frustrated by the comments made, and defended his goalkeeper by reiterating his belief in playing him ahead of the more experienced Mignolet. He appeared to have a change of tone although, as he reverted back to playing the former Sunderland keeper for the game against Middlesbrough, which turned out to be a success, a 3-0 win secured , but more importantly; a rare clean sheet.
Many people have spotted a similarity between Karius and David De Gea as the Spaniard endured a torrid first season, but has since sparked a meteoric rise, which has seen him become arguably the best keeper in the league and perhaps in the world.
Was this due to Manchester United’s patience and faith to stick by the keeper, instead of throwing him overboard? Is this an approach Klopp will adhere to?
De Gea was dropped for a few games after a spell of poor from in his early Manchester United career and was replaced by Anders Lindegaard, but found his way back into the side. He has now gone on to win player of the year for the last three consecutive years for the Red Devils, the first player to achieve this accolade.
Mignolet himself has not been anywhere near up the level of De Gea has and he is now in his fourth season with the club. Do you stick with the experience of Mignolet but expect mistakes to be made? Or does Klopp put his confidence into the youngster to turn things around?
With the Reds trying to mount another title challenge following the agonisingly close 2013/14 season , a good keeper is imperative to this ambition. In my opinion, neither keeper fit the bill for a team wanting to win the league. Both keepers are unreliable and neither has shown signs of guiding Liverpool to the summit. This may be harsh on Karius as he has only just arrived, but I am not convinced.
Mignolet shows signs of being a good keeper; however, there is no fine margin between ‘good’ and ‘brilliant’.
Klopp made the correct call by dropping the under fire Karius for Wednesday night’s game, I would personally stick with Mignolet for the foreseeable future.
You do question why Klopp did not secure the services of Joe Hart who is now at Torino in Italy, with not many other options available Liverpool will have to stick with their guns for now. A good replacement would be Jack Butland, who has been consistently strong for Stoke.
The German will have to rely on his lethal and dynamic attack to be firing on all cylinders, to cancel out goals conceded by his keeper, this is a similar situation to the season where Liverpool threw the league away 2 years ago, the ruthless SAS (Suarez and Sturridge) decimated defences, whereas the back line of the side were being decimated themselves, unable to pull their weight in the same way that the forward trio of Suarez, Sturridge, and Sterling could .
By Tom Cavilla, 18 years old