‘There’s goalkeeper drama at Liverpool’ is perhaps the most evergreen statement you could make about the club since Pepe Reina lost his mojo, an unfortunate period of Liverpool’s history that curiously followed the hiring of goalkeeping coach John Achterberg. I won’t throw all of Achterberg’s unlucky boys under the bus but it’s more than a handful of keepers that have been brought into the club over the last 8 years who have not managed to be as amazing as we hoped they would be.
Simon Mignolet has been a mixture of good and bad during his stint in goal. From his eye-watering penalty save in his first match for Liverpool against Stoke City to his favored distribution targets being several rows deep into the stands. Mignolet is a good keeper, a good shot stopper on his day, but even the Belgian’s most active supporters must understand that he is not the solution Liverpool need at the back if they are going to challenge for anything exciting.
Now, thanks to Jürgen Klopp, that seemingly endless Mignolet adventure looks to be coming to a close as Loris Karius has been handed the magic gloves.
“Now you are back in goal,” said Karius, “you have to prove yourself and show how good you are to stay number one in the long term, not just for the moment, to prove maybe I’m the long-term number one that can be in goal here for Liverpool for years to come.
“But that’s far ahead. So, for right now I just want to help the team in the remaining four months of the season to reach our goals and do well.”
The German keeper’s performance against Manchester City was mixed, let’s say. His distribution wasn’t bad, which sounds wishy-washy cause it is. And he didn’t exactly exude confidence as a shot stopper. But with an extended run in the side, we might just see the Karius who was so lauded as an exciting young keeper in Germany.
Karius had a rough start to his Liverpool career but this season has been handed Champions League matches in order to keep him sharp and attuned to the side.
“I’ve been using the Champions League to get game time and prove myself,” Karius said. “That was very good for me. There were not that many games but it’s the highest level you can play on.
“I had a few league games now and then but, of course, now it’s going to be different playing every week. It’s nice, it’s great to hear and I can’t wait to be in goal again next week.”
It’s all very exciting. The new Karius era. But any massive blunders against Swansea City on Monday will bring out the groans from the best fans in the world. Liverpool’s number one dog lover will need a thick skin from here on out. We’re not asking for much, just perfection.
“There is always pressure,” said Karius. “You can turn it any way you want.
“You can say if you are the challenger that you need to be doing very well every time you come in, or you can’t have a bad game as a number one. That’s just our job and the pressure comes with it. I don’t really see it as pressure.”