Goalkeepers tend to be polarizing. Few players can be as peripheral to a team’s success for almost the entirety of the match before winning or losing it on one stop, one miskick, one steady take or flailing flap. Do nothing for 90 minutes and then decide the match.
It’s a lot of pressure, and it means that any single mistake will be focused on and picked apart in a way that happens at no other position. And that tends to polarize opinion, depending on whether one focuses on the good or the bad moments inevitably scattered across a season.
Only having been at Liverpool for four months, a lot of time has been spent by countless pundits dissecting Loris Karius, and most recently Jamie Carragher criticized him for his role in Sunday’s defeat at Bournemouth. Former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, though, doesn’t see it quite the same way.
“I think he doesn’t need any encouragement,” Reina told ITV. “I think he’s a brilliant goalkeeper who is doing really well. It’s the team, you know, that also at times has to do better for the goalkeeper, but I think they will do really well this season and I’m happy for them.”
Karius may have made the final, decisive error, but there were others. Both on the final goal and throughout the game. In front of Karius, Dejan Lovren looked especially uneasy and exceptionally rash without the calming presence of Joël Matip and alongside substitute centre half Lucas Leiva.
Ahead of them, the midfield spent the final 15 minutes of the match unable to retain possession and hang on to what at one point had been a 3-1 lead. And ahead of them, Divock Origi got the comeback ball rolling when he gifted Bournemouth the ball needlessly and sprung their counter.
It’s a team game, and Sunday was very much a team loss. Origi and Lovren in particular were at least as individually culpable as Karius. Having made the final mistake, though, far more time—perhaps too much time—was spent on the goalkeeper’s role in the loss.
Karius will need to improve, but so too will others, if Liverpool are to get back on track against West Ham on the weekend and keep pace with a rampant Chelsea side that are now four points ahead of them at the top of the Premier League table.