One of the many positives that have come from this season is the improvement of Loris Karius. The German ‘keeper took over the starting position from Simon Mignolet earlier this season and with an impressive clean sheet record, he’s likely to keep the position going forward. Of course, a clean sheet is a team effort, but James Milner recently credited the competition for that starting position to Karius’ great season.
“All credit to Si for pushing him all the way,” said Milner following the Derby on Saturday.
“They’ve had to battle for that No.1 spot and what you need is competition. [Danny] Wardy is there as well so we have three ‘keepers pushing to be in the team and Loris has done well since coming in.
“He’s good with his feet, he has been calm and made some very good saves, so it is good to see him doing well and the boys behind him pushing him.”
Klopp has long said that he likes to foster competition between his players and with three uniquely gifted goalkeepers in his care, this kind of setup isn’t really a surprise. The competition at left back has pushed Andy Robertson to do so well after Alberto Moreno’s injury, and Karius has two others biting at his own heels. Granted, these days Karius has had a bit of an easier job with defense mostly handled and so much focus on keeping possession.
“When you are playing for a team who have quite a bit of the ball, you might be called on once or twice a game to pull out a save when you haven’t been involved – that’s the hardest part for a goalkeeper and he’s done that well,” Milner continued.
“He is talking and trying to be involved in the game when we are attacking. I think the clean sheet numbers have gone up so he’s obviously doing well and that’s credit to the boys in front of him as well.”
Liverpool’s defense has definitely seemed to finally click with the arrival of Virgil van Dijk, making Karius’ job definitely easier. So there’s a question there that could be would Mignolet or Ward do any better there with a better defense in front of him - a question that probably won’t be answered until next season and who knows what our team will look like then. Karius’ confidence in the position, though, is a huge asset and he’s looked more and more settled as every game has gone on. That 8 clean sheets in fifteen games record can’t be a fluke, but is definitely helped by others.