FOOTBALL

Opinion: The Liverpool goalkeeper crisis

Liverpool has one of the best strike forces in the country with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminio leading the line. But between the sticks, they’re having trouble deciding between Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet and after a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, the woes only continue.

Since joining from Sunderland in 2013, Mignolet was the first choice for Liverpool but with a lack of consistency in performances from the Belgian, there has been a lot of rotation for the number one spot. Despite believing this rotation is “unhealthy”, Jurgen Klopp continues to swap the two goalkeepers fairly frequently.

Karius on the other hand was signed from FSV Mainz in the summer transfer window of the 2015/16 season to put some pressure on Liverpool’s current number one. But with Mignolet’s form under doubt the German stepped up and gave Klopp an interesting situation, stay with the current but often under-performing number one, or give the starting slot to Karius and risk the consequences.

As the years have progressed, Mignolet has gone from starting all the fixtures in the 2013/14 season to just 28 last season. Missing 10 games wouldn’t have helped his confidence last season and this season it gets worse, with Mignolet having played only 19 out of 30 games. This leaves Liverpool with a dilema between playing Karius or Mignolet.

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Looking at the other sides in the Premier League, the rest of the top 6 sides have a solid number one as their back line of defence which is something many Liverpool fans are envious of. Liverpool have conceded the second highest amount of goals in the top 6 with a total of 34, only second to Arsenal who have conceded 41. They are also the only top 6 side who has changed their goalkeeper with no reason such as an injury which highlights the lack of faith and trust Klopp has in both of them.

These stats are key factors as to why they haven’t been able to compete at major tournaments with their mentality of “as long as we score more goals we can win.” With the addition of £75 million pound centre-back Virgil Van Dijk and the signing of Joel Matip, Liverpool should not be conceding as many as they have so questions need to be asked over the quality of their goalkeepers.

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With the likes of Roma’s Allison, PSG’s Kevin Trapp, AC Milan’s Donaruma and Stoke’s Jack Butland all on the radar of the KOP and its fans, it’s clear they should move to a higher quality goalkeeper. With new rumours also surrounding the future of Mignolet possibly heading to Napoli, a move is looking increasingly more likely. The job for Klopp would be signing an experienced, high quality goalkeeper and making them the consistent starter.

Although many believe that consistency and frequent starts could bring Karius to the same caliber and status of the goalkeepers around him, the mistakes made have caused numerous points to be dropped from fixtures where three points was a given and a must. A move for a new keeper in the summer should be one of Liverpool’s and Klopp’s top priorities of business in the transfer window.

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