Ever since the decline of Pepe Reina, if there has been one position all Liverpool fans wanted strengthening, it would undoubtedly be the goalkeeper. It’s an amazement that Simon Mignolet has lasted this long at the club after countless errors and unconvincing performances and next season finally seemed to be the year in which the Belgian would be replaced with a new first choice.
Liverpool fans were salivating at being linked with a move for Roma’s highly rated Alisson, with journalists suggesting a £62m could be on the cards in the summer, with Alisson apparently favouring a move to Merseyside over both Paris and Madrid. However, maybe there’s no need for Klopp to spend that amount of money on a new first choice because he already has one at his disposal: Loris Karius.
Ever since being given an extended run in the side for the permanently dropped Mignolet, Karius has looked much more improved and confident and if he continues this run of form, would it be consequential to him and his development to sign someone to replace him?
After arriving in the Premier League in 2016 after three successful campaigns with Mainz (he was regarded as the second best in the league after Neuer in his final year), every move Karius made was scrutinized and he ended up with only 10 appearances in the league — which was definitely disappointing for the young keeper who thought he’d be the permanent number one over Mignolet, whose poor form had led to Karius’ arrival in the first place.
After two glaring errors against Bournemouth and West Ham back in December 2016, Klopp decided to take Karius out of the spotlight and away from media criticism by dropping him for the remainder of the season and after Mignolet’s improved showings, Karius was frustratingly unable to cement his place – leaving many fans already questioning if he’d ever be good enough to be a starter for The Reds.
Yet ever since being reinstated in goal back in January, Karius has seized the opportunity and been highly impressive. He’s looks more confident and is making some great saves.
Karius boasts a 68% save percentage, putting himself amongst the highest in the league, while his quick distribution has been vital when helping the team get in full flow on the attack. This ability was evident against Newcastle, where despite having little to do for almost the entirety of the game, he pulled out a top class save from a Diame shot that looked destined to nestle in the top left corner. His form has left no debate regarding who should start over him and Mignolet but if he continues this vein of form, is there any need to sign someone to take his spot when over the past few games he’s performed exceptionally?
Karius’ stint in the Premier League has already drawn comparisons to that of David De Gea, with the Spaniard being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson to be United’s first choice keeper in his debut season but after some disappointing performances, he was relegated to the bench and it appeared as if he was unable to cope with the pressure and demands of the English top flight. When De Gea was given a chance at redemption, he ended up developing into a goalkeeper whom many believe to now be the best in the world and although in no way am I saying that Karius is as good or can be as good as De Gea, their cases are definitely comparable.
There is no disputing that Alisson would be an excellent signing if he does end up arriving. He’s already regarded as one of the best in Europe, would make every other club take notice and most importantly could cement himself as our first choice goalkeeper for the long-term future. With Karius improving and gaining confidence though, his purchase seems unnecessary, especially if the German can maintain his form until the end of the season.
A replacement for Mignolet however will be required in the summer as his Anfield exit becomes inevitable. If Karius is to remain as Klopp’s number one, he needs sufficient competition. Timo Horn or possibly Iker Casillas could be ideal choices.
It appears as if Klopp was right to have faith in Karius and he’s finally showing the form that made him so revered in Germany and hopefully he can stake his claim as the Reds’ first choice for the foreseeable future.