At the beginning of last season, Liverpool fans -- and Klopp himself — believed that Loris Karius, the young goalkeeper brought to England from Mainz, would be the number one choice for the team. It didn’t work out that way. Instead, the competition seemed to be just what veteran Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet needed to bring out his best.
This summer, with Mignolet as number one and Karius in reserve — not to mention Danny Ward returning from his loan spell — the club has no plans to buy another goalkeeper.
John Achterberg, the team’s goalkeeping coach, is neither surprised nor dismayed at this, and he had some kind things to say about all three of the Reds’ senior shot-stoppers.
“My opinion is that in goalkeeping terms, things look pretty good for Liverpool,” Achterberg told the ECHO.
“Simon did very well. He got a lot of praise which was well deserved. He made some important saves in vital games towards the end of the season which earned points for the team. There were match-winning saves and he helped us get to that fourth place.
“He improved in all areas of his game. That’s credit to him for the hard work he put in on the training ground. He produced it on the pitch. Now he needs to try to keep that momemtum going and take it into next season.”
Mignolet’s impressive resurgence over the course of last season was undeniable, and if the Belgian can maintain that same level of performance this season, Liverpool will be in very good shape.
Waiting in the wings is Karius, who, at 23-years-old, is still young for a player in his position.
“Loris came here to fight Simon,” Achterberg added.
“You know how it works in football. If the other one gets back in then he has to take it and it was the same for Loris. He had to wait and work hard and wait for the next chance to come up. His attitude was very good.”
And finally, about Danny Ward, Achterberg said, “It was always the plan for Danny to try to get him playing for two years and help move his level on. He showed good consistency for Huddersfield. We’ll bring him back because we want three good goalies to fight each other.”
Liverpool certainly seem like they’re in a good place — at least where their goalkeeping is concerned. Of course, this depends on Mignolet maintaining his 2016-17 form and Karius continuing in his development.
Achterberg sums it up well himself by saying, “It’s going to be a big season next season. If there are any injuries or suspensions, you need to have three top goalies.
“You need that competition. We need to keep everyone fit and improving so they are ready to take that chance, whenever it comes along.”