FEATURE: Liverpool's goalkeeping conundrum
20 January 2017 with Ryan McQueen
The mid 2000’s seem like a distant memory and flitering day dream for many a Liverpool fan now, non more so than when we think of goalkeepers. Pepe Reina’s tenure between the sticks commencing in August 2005 and lasting until a falling out with management was arguably the last time we had a fully competent goalkeeper we didn’t have to worry about from game to game.
His frame, size, distribution and commanding of his area as well as the organizing of his defense is exactly what we miss and lack currently.
You have to go back to 1999-2005 when Dutchman Sander Westerveld and the Pole in the goal Jerzy Dudek were the number ones, to find our last goalkeepers who conceded fewer goals than games played as a ratio. Since then plenty of promising young shot stoppers joined Liverpool with hopes of being the kopites saviour in goal, players such as Pegguy Arpexad, Chris Kirkland, Scot Carson, Daniele Padelli and Brad Jones have tried and subsequently failed due to injuries and technical faults that stood in the way.
Enter Simon Mignolet, his debut couldn’t of went any better, a late penalty save at Anfield securing 3 points for the reds that day. Eventually Simon would begin to show frailties that come with the expectancy of representing a club with the demands the Liverpool fans have. High profile mistake after high profile mistake would cost the reds on numerous occasions, his record currently stands at 94 games played 115 goals conceded. Now I understand that a goalkeeper can only be as good as his defense, however I can counter that by saying the name David De Gea.
Loris Karius’ purchase from Mainz in the summer of 2016 was greeted with genuine excitement with many as Jurgen Klopp has a fantastic record of bringing in young top class talent. Loris is still very young now playing for a club where he is expected to deliver for the first team on a weekly basis. After our league cup semi final first leg defeat away to Southampton, you could argue that we are still in this fixture because of Karius’ saves that night at St Marys. All that being said, there is a huge cross road ahead, does Jurgen persist with the German as his number one, in the same way Manchester united kept faith with David De Gea and are now reeping the rewards for patience shown? You could easily make a case either way, from what I have seen of Mignolet this season, he has desperately tried to work on his flaws, his command of his area has improved significantly and he is capable of putting in match winning performances, sadly though, I still see him as an error prone goalkeeper.
So the question is, do we go and buy an experienced goalkeeper to work alongside Karius? Or do we stick with who we have? One thing we can all agree on is, Liverpool desperately needs a stable number one goalkeeper.
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