Before the season began, there was speculation Liverpool could rotate Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius, with the Belgian given league duties and Karius playing in Europe. With Mignolet deployed both in the league and against Hoffenheim in the Champions League playoff in August, that didn’t look like it was going to happen.
Then, despite the fact the Belgian had been solid in the club’s first four games—split evenly between the league and Europe—Karius was brought in to face Arsenal. He didn’t have much to do, but his inclusion led to renewed rumblings that Karius could be set to play the Champions League group stage games for Liverpool.
Though Mignolet wasn’t the one to blame for the loss, Liverpool’s heavy, 5-0 defeat to Manchester City has further helped to fuel rotation talk, and The Liverpool Echo now think there’s a good chance Karius plays on Wednesday when Liverpool travel to Spain to face Sevilla. It’s a possibility, then, that has to at least be taken seriously.
It’s also a possibility that raises a question about what happens with the League Cup the week after, because Liverpool don’t just have two senior goalkeepers on the books—they have three. Both Mignolet and Karius will feel they deserve playing time, but Liverpool also still have Danny Ward, and he needs minutes, too.
After an impressive 2016-17 season with Huddersfield that saw Ward play a key role in their Premier League promotion, Ward hadn’t expected to spend the 2017-18 season playing with Liverpool’s reserves. He proved last season he was good enough to start, and at 24 years of age another season at Liverpool is a bit of a waste.
Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp, though, felt he was too promising to sell or loan out again, so he stayed. That, though, means he too needs to play at some point. And that could see Liverpool undertake an unprecedented three-man rotation in goal, with Mignolet in the league, Karius in Europe, and Ward in the domestic cups.
Klopp and the club may not have a clear idea of who their long-term answer is in goal, but it’s clear they still have three goalkeepers who are too good to go months without a game. A busy September with matches to play on three fronts should give an answer as to how—or if—they’re going to try to deal with that.