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Liverpool's goalkeeper problems are only going to get worse

Thursday 28th September 2017
Liverpool continued their Champions League campaign with yet another draw, this time with Spartak Moscow in a game that they dominated, but ultimately finished in a 1-1 draw. While the result revealed a lot about Liverpool, there was a particular area which Jurgen Klopp has to now be proactive.

The Reds dominated their opponents throughout the game as they recorded 64% possession and 16 shots of which six were on target. If they had been playing at home then these stats probably wouldn't have been particularly impressive, but they were playing in Russia.

While Spartak aren't the best opponents Liverpool will face this season, they would still have fancied themselves to keep the ball more at home and record more shots. The level of dominance Klopp's side enjoyed is a credit to their manager and the players.

They clearly deserved to win the game, but they didn't. Philippe Coutinho levelled in the 31st to give his side almost an hour to score a second, which they failed to do. While this is the fault of their forwards, they should not have had to score two goals in the game, meaning the loss of two points is down to Loris Karius.
The German goalkeeper, picked ahead of Simon Mignolet for the Champions League game, was beaten by Fernando's free-kick in the 23rd to put the home side a goal up. The free-kick itself was well struck, but it was a few yards in from the post, with Karius unable to get there.

With the goalkeeper at fault for the goal, it once again ignited the debate about Klopp's selection and 'keepers. Karius, Mignolet and Danny Ward have all been used by the German this season, with the three failing to consistently convince.

For a game in which Liverpool really needed to win to keep the pressure on Sevilla who played Maribor, surely keeping Mignolet in goal would have been a better option considering the Belgian seems to be Klopp's first-choice goalkeeper. Interestingly, Karius has now conceded 19 goals in 19 games for Liverpool, which is simply not good enough for a goalkeeper at this level.

Interestingly, Karius has now conceded 19 goals in 19 games for Liverpool, which is simply not good enough for a goalkeeper at this level. Of course, the defence must shoulder a lot of the blame with Klopp's charges often well-short of par. However, when called upon to make the more simple of saves or decision, the three goalkeepers struggle massively.

It really begs the question, why is Klopp so adamant he does not need a new goalkeeper?

When Chelsea knew they would be without Diego Costa, they didn't decide to put all of their faith in youth as this can often backfire. Similarly, Vincent Janssen was awful for Tottenham last year and instead of keeping faith with a player that needed minutes elsewhere, Spurs brought in a better replacement in Fernando Llorente who they knew could do a job, and let Janssen go out on loan.

Perhaps Klopp feels Ward, Mignolet and Karius show too much potential to let go, and maybe that is true. However, potential doesn't assure titles. Indeed, neither does it stop the ball from going into the back of the net.

While the manager may be looking to show everyone that he was right about his goalkeepers, it is hurting his team's potential. Thibaut Courtois, David de Gea, Hugo Lloris and Petr Cech can and have all made crucial saves to win points, while they don't often make mistakes.

It is very telling the Mignolet and Karius, while good goalkeepers, are very, very far away from being on that list.

 
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.


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