If you were to make a poll for Liverpool fans to vote the one position they feel should be strengthened above all else in their side you could bet good money the goalkeeping position would come out on top. The number one spot between the sticks is a problem position that has plagued the reds for far too long.
Currently, Liverpool has both Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius to call upon and neither have made the spot their own. Mignolet has suffered torrid criticism over the years with fans losing count of costly mistakes from the Belgian and calls for a replacement have run around the Kop for some time. Jurgen Klopp brought in Bundesliga import Loris Karius in his first summer window and he arrived with high hopes, however after a spell in the side in which he proved less than convincing he has lost his spot and finds himself on the bench week in week out. Liverpool find themselves between a metaphoric rock and a hard place now on who they prefer wearing the gloves, with neither man ticking enough boxes to cement their place. The popular choice would seem to be a new addition in the form of a proven experienced stopper but Klopp seems adamant that he will not return to the transfer market for another ‘keeper.
Liverpool has, to date, had a successful season under their beloved German boss. They currently sit 3rd in the league and despite no chance of incoming cups at Anfield this season, the aim was to breach the top four and gain Champions League football again. With only a handful of games remaining along with the twist and turns that are always waiting in the world of the Premier League, anything can happen before mid-May. However, Liverpool have placed themselves in a strong position as we approach the run-in.
Looking forward from this campaign they will want to build and mount a serious title challenge, and if the intention is indeed to stick with Mignolet and Karius and have the pair fight for the right to be number one at Anfield then that could be a costly pitfall. They have the attacking prowess and flair and will be a year wiser again after another season of battling, perhaps a defender or two more and they can become more solid, but ignore the goalkeeper situation and it could all be for nothing.
You would struggle to find a league winning side that didn’t have a goalkeeper held in high esteem by all and this should be something Klopp heeds as a warning. Even if he does have full faith in his current stoppers he must know deep down that neither are cutting the mustard on a consistent enough basis. A world class save or a clean sheet here and there doesn’t make a world class keeper each week. Manchester United with the likes of Van Der Sar and Peter Schmeichel. Chelsea with an in prime Petr Cech, Arsenal with the great David Seaman. Successful teams in the Premier League era all with a reliable top class ‘keeper between the sticks.
As much as Liverpool did almost lift the title in 2014 with Mignolet as their number 1 they ultimately fell short and goals in their favour certainly was not the issue. Far from it in fact. Klopp has recently denied any intention to throw Joe Hart a Premier League lifeline after his Manchester City exile and loan stint at Torino, with the England number 1 a popular choice among many. One can’t help but think that Hart is the ideal fit for Klopp’s side with his experience and obvious ability.
Whether Klopp is calling everyone’s bluff and does indeed bring a new Goalkeeper in this coming summer remains to be seen, but early signs show that Anfield is set for another season of ‘keeper issues with Mignolet and the thus far unproven Karius tasked with battling out between one another to impress their manager and, perhaps more importantly, impress the fans as well.
Something that could well prove costly to Liverpool challenging for top honours next campaign.