SATURDAY was great. Another victory for The Reds, and we found another way of winning. After having ground out a result at a top side, battering a decent side at home, thrashing a relegation threatened side at home and blitzing a good side with a devastating 20 minute spell, we added ‘playing terribly for 45 minutes and managing to bounce back’ to the list. There aren’t many ways of winning that we haven’t achieved this season and it’s only October.
When Leroy Fer scored after eight minutes I was taken back to Watford last season, and Burnley this, and reminded of Liverpool looking lost in trying to get back into the game and being largely clueless. It was nice to see we didn’t spend the 82 minutes after Fer scored taking pot shots at goal every time the goal was in anyone’s vision.
It wasn’t perfect, though, was it? Playing badly and winning is great, but you won’t consistently play badly and win, eventually these things catch up with you.
The biggest talking point from Saturday seems to be the performance of Loris Karius, to the point that John Aldridge has said that it’s time for Simon Mignolet to come back into the side. It’s all a bit mad, isn’t it?
No, Karius wasn’t good on Saturday and there have been a couple of things I’ve found slightly concerning but he’s played 270 minutes for Liverpool, and one of those was a game against Derby where he could have spent 90 minutes sat on a deckchair doing a Sudoku and still kept a clean sheet.
I totally get the argument that we aren’t in a position whereby we can just let him learn on the job, but surely it’s far too early to decide whether or not he’s learning or it’s just nerves? After 270 minutes in goal I don’t really remember him making a save. And by that I don’t mean a save at all, I mean a top save, a save that he can feed off and give him confidence. Anyone who remembers Simon Mignolet’s debut will remember him being all at sea every time a ball went above his head, but he saved a late penalty to give Liverpool three points so it was quickly forgotten and he got a huge psychological boost.
Quite often I think things footballers do can be subjective in how you view them. For example, the decision to retreat to his line when Mike van der Hoorn missed a sitter in injury time was clearly a bad decision and poor goalkeeping, whereas there was another one where Karius retreated to his line that I felt was a good decision.
Early in the first half, Gylfi Sigurdsson put a lovely ball into the box over Borja Baston’s left shoulder. The ball would have landed about six yards from goal and Karius had retreated to his line. His decision to retreat meant that Baston couldn’t beat him with a scuffed shot, and he would have to connect really well to extend Swansea’s lead. As it was, he scuffed it and it rolled slowly to Karius. Had Karius have come for it properly then a scuffed shot could easily have beaten him. We got what we wanted, maybe intentionally or unintentionally.
I’m not a top level goalkeeper so I’ve no idea what the right decision was here, but on the face of it, it was widely viewed as poor goalkeeping but as with every decision a footballer makes we don’t live in a parallel world to see the alternative.
There’s a cogent argument that learning on the job isn’t beneficial for us as a side moving forward this season. I can totally see that. We need to minimise all ways of dropping points and a goalkeeper learning the league is definitely a way that we could lose points. David De Gea, now viewed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, cost Manchester United points in his first season in English football, and there are parallels between the goalkeeping situation at United then, and at Liverpool now.
De Gea had clear imperfections, a little like everyone has decided Karius has at this stage. But what was the alternative? In reserve they had Anders Lindegaard and Tomasz Kuszczak, neither of whom were good enough to be a Manchester United goalkeeper so despite various De Gea ups and downs they persevered with him and it all worked out well.
Now, Simon Mignolet is clearly a much better goalkeeper than the two options that United had at the time, but over the last three years it’s clear to me that that he isn’t good enough to keep goal for Liverpool. So why, after 270 minutes of Karius would we revert? Karius clearly has a lot of learning to do and adapting to the league, but I’m almost certain that I’m going to see Mignolet making these mistakes that he has done again and again.
The creation of uncertainty isn’t going to disappear, the staying on his line isn’t going to stop, the poor kicking isn’t going to suddenly improve, and even if Karius does struggle can we really concede more goals than the previous three seasons in which we’ve conceded 52, 48 and 50? They’re alarmingly high numbers, whoever you feel is culpable for them.
Jürgen Klopp has obviously signed Karius to be his long term number one, and the man no one thinks is good enough to be our number is the one he has taken over from, so why is there a clamour to see Karius returned back to the bench?
If we still have these problems at Christmas then I would be minded to consider changing things up but you can’t just buckle at the first sign of weakness, a weakness that has cost us zero points. Goalkeepers are treated differently — if a striker, that you were of the opinion had been brought in as your main man, missed some sitters in his first couple of games you wouldn’t be thinking about taking him out of the firing line and returning someone who you know isn’t good enough.
There has to be an element of faith placed in Karius, and if the man who you’d bring in to replace him would almost certainly cost you points it makes keeping faith all the more logical.
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My biggest immediate concern about Karius is that if the second best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season suffers nerves in front of 20,000 fans in Swansea on a flat Saturday early afternoon, and puts in a performance like – what the hell will he be like in front 54,000 and the chaos and intense atmosphere that’s United at home?
A goalkeeper who can exude the confidence he can off the pitch but shows every signs of fragility on it is not a good sign at the moment.
Long or medium term it’ll be fine I am sure. But United at home? It must be playing on his mind as soon as he steps out into an atmosphere he wont have seen before whilst playing for Mainz.
I’m sure Klopp will make the right call and it’ll all be ok. Think its only fair to show concern when looking at the next game though.
He won’t be tested v Utd.
The problem is, it’s all or nothing. There’s no – you’re the long term choice but can you sit out against Utd because we’re worried you’re not that good. Can’t possibly work like that. We have to stick with him and that includes the Utd game. There’s no other choice. This isn’t aimed at you, more at me, you and everyone else but I’d love it if he was superb next Monday and we all had to backtrack yet again.
That’s fine. I hope he doesn’t have a belter as that’s not good for how the game might turn out – I just hope he does the basics well.
Don’t worry about those harlem globe trottin, granny shaggin misfits, mate, they’re over rated. Our home form isn’t WWWDWWWDWWDWW without reason. I can’t see their midfield getting a sniff. It’ll be like the first half of Utd v City last month. Karius will be fine.
You’re kidding arent you? He would have played in front of 80k at Dortmund and Bayern.
It’s a fair point mate. To be honest I was slightly disappointed when we signed him (even though I’d never seen him play or even heard of him). One thing I’m learning is everytime we get hysterical about something it’s usually proven that Klopp was right and we were all wrong. For that reason I’ve largely not commented on this one. I suppose my feelings are I’m worried about him but then, as you say, Mignolet isn’t the answer going forward. At some point a new keeper has to come in for him and it’s very rare to see any PL player come in and hit the ground running. The issue for the fans is simple. Only the most negative don’t believe we’re in with a title shout this season and it’s that that’s clouding our judgement. No one wants to lose this league by 2 points when there’s been goal keeping errors earlier in the season (as you say, he hasn’t cost us anything yet). Patience is a virtue and it’s something LFC fans simply don’t have. One thing I have thought though, everyone is talking about De Gea but when Bogdan started he also looked poor. Ok, he didn’t get the chance to turn into De Gea but he wouldn’t have. Point being, just because he’s new it doesn’t mean he’ll become a De Gea.
But, it makes no sense to go backwards at this juncture. Also, it makes no sense to question Klopp’s judgement. Despite reservations I think he’ll be a good signing and we have to give him a few months to settle in. He could even save us a few points later in the season which go towards winning the league by 2 points. He has to be given that chance. As always, in a few months we’ll be looking at this as just another thing we found to moan about before it was right to. As a side note, I’ve actually got some reservations about Matip with balls coming into the box. I made them after the pre season games and although it’s swung at times to me thinking I’ve got it completely wrong, the truth is, they haven’t fully gone yet. Knowing my knowledge of football isn’t great and people who’s opinion I respect think the opposite I’m not going to raise it again. I’m just gonna keep quiet on these issues and see what happens. The clubs in good shape and we don’t need jittery fans disrupting things. As you were…
Everyone seams surprised tgat Karius is showing a bit of nervousness early in his Liverpool career. It’s to be expected. Karius is a very young keeper that has been thrust into the EPL pressure cooker. And this happened after an injury that had him sidelined for six plus weeks. Surely there is a bit of rust to go with those nerves. In spite of this only two goals have gotten in in three games (neither of which you can directly blame the keeper) and the Reds won each game. The right way to Lee him settle is more games. Klopp should go to him and tell him that barring total incompetence he is Liverpools keeper. Long term it will be the best move and if we know anything about Klopp it is that he thinks long term.
Greetings from Mainz. Since Klopp took over I have been watching most of the matches, including those with Karius on the pitch. I was pretty surprised about how bad he was at times. You didn’t see him doing such mistakes when he was playing for us. You could clearly see that he still has to adapt to LFC’s defense as he looked a little hesitant sometimes.
I do understand your concerns but once he’s settled in Karius will be the excellent keeper whom we lost this summer. Just have some patience, it’ll pay off.
Excellent and reassuring – thanks
Listen to Phil (and perhaps moreso Martin) and untwist your nickers.
Everyone seems to fear the worst with the Mancs coming, but get behind him. A big performance then and he´ll feel 10 feet tall.
Although, I´d be more than happy with a Derby of level of involvement next Monday.
Our GK is part of team defense and we haven’t yet had a real settled back four in front of whoever it is. This means that our weakness from crosses and corners isn’t just down to who is GK.
Karius always stays on his line, always has and I don’t see that changing. Migs isn’t better or worse in this regard, so let’s stick with Karius and understand that until we sort the back four, we will remain weak on crosses and corners.
See this: https://youtu.be/8WUxwnFdXRA
Karius caught 92% of crosses last season – doesn’t sound like a man who stays on his line. What is questionable, so far and also based on several reviews of the lad in the summer, was his judgement of when to come and when not to.
Oh, and the unsettled defence? Does that not apply to Mignolet as well? How many different combinations did he play behind? Just saying….
Migs caught 82%, does that really say anything? Just watch the video. It’s from an OptaPro conference (h/t Andrew Beasley) that shows Karius to be “passive” at corners and crosses. Doesn’t mean he isn’t the future, I think he is, but he’s not the solution by himself of our weakness at crosses and corners.
Next few games w/ ManU, WestBrom etc should be interesting. Meaning a bit scary.
Karius is a goalkeeper who mainly stays on his line, across the top four leagues in Europe he is one of the goalies who claimed the fewest crosses (and comes for the fewest crosses). Opta Pro Analytics by Sam Jackson explains this in depth but the gist is he falls into the passive non claimer category, comes for a few but doesn’t really claim that many. That’s not to say he’s a poor goalie, just that he doesn’t come off his line much for crosses. Personally, I’d stick with him, he’s Klopp’s man and lets face it, he knows more than any of us!
Koolhand21 mentions Man Utd, I agree, this will be a massive test for Karius but after that are Palace and Watford, these three teams make the most crosses in the league so an interesting time ahead.
The hysteria around him’s kinda funny. He didn’t do too well, it was effectively his real debut if we forget the Hull game where he was probably having a picnic in all that free time. New league, new experience, it happens
I don’t understand the whole argument that we’re going for the league so we can’t afford to take risks with players learning on the job like Gibbo was saying on the Wrap. The fact that we are in the position to challenge is because the manager took risks with a lot of players who at one stage were deemed not good enough and developed them to the point where they are now great cogs of a machine, but then the manager wants to do the same thing with a very highly rated goalkeeper from Germany and everyone lose their minds
The manager has made a lot of unconventional moves so far this season and they have by and large all paid off, so let’s trust the man and his backing of Karius instead of panicking and losing our heads
I don’t think there is any hysteria or blind panic – just a valid few questions on whether he is ready for the PL.
Obviously there will be the pro-mignolet fans who will be saying “I told you so”, and the pro-karius fans who’ll be saying “its all going to be fine”. That’s standard really.
Crazy there are people suggesting dropping him after 2 league games in which he has not made a costly mistake. What happens if Mignolet comes back in against Utd and makes another trademark howler? Then you have two goalkeepers with confidence shot to pieces. At the moment Karius is bedding in, Mignolet is most likely gutted about being on the bench but hasnt been dropped in the normal way. If Karius costs us goals and games he will rightly be dropped, until then just chill out and stop the constant bed wetting. Its a proper modern fan trait that bugs the hell out of me
I wonder why everyone keeps talking about karius coming out for crosses and all that but in the same Swansea game alone his kicking was way better than migs. He started attacks upon attacks and didn’t panic n kick the out of play. Karius needs time that’s all.
Joe Hart. It literally is a no brainer.
That Hart is considerably superior to Mignolet is indisputable. So far, Karius seems to be not an improvement on the flapper.
As it happens, Hart will be available next summer. So unless Karius proves a reasonable facsimile of Neuer, watch this space between the sticks
Are you trippin?
If Karius concedes multiple goals against United at Anfield the crowd will be merciless. I’m sure he’ll inprove in time, but I’m not convinced that testing him so brutally is the way to build his PL confidence. He did seem nervous at Swansea, but what worried me more was how he seemed to misjudge and not properly react to what was happening right in front of him when Fer scored. He stood off to the side and did a little flapping thing. He looked timid, weak and disengaged.
I’m all for giving him time, but playing a United XI under the sneaky direction of Mourinho calls for a keeper who’s been there and done it before. It won’t harm Karius to watch and learn for one game. It could very likely harm him if he fails and then gets jeered at & abused on social media, especially if a loss drops us back down out of the top 4.
I find it really disappointing that this conversation needs to happen, excellent though this article is.
I’m not saying players shouldn’t be questioned, but Karius has played two full Premier League games. Seeing as Klopp has been proven right on every single big call he has been questioned over, I am pretty relaxed over Karius being our number one.
I don’t know why anyone would find it disappointing for fans to have a conversation about a player, as long as it’s not abusive (this one isn’t). The fact is that Jürgen Klopp hasn’t said outright whether he’s actually made a firm choice yet about who our #1 is.
It was entirely natural and expected for him to put Karius in as soon as his broken hand was healed and he was ready. But just because he played him for a couple games, nobody should make assumptions that they know what Jürgen is thinking. He clearly takes one game at a time, considers the opposition facing him in the upcoming game, evaluates the mentality and fitness of his players, and then makes his choices. It seems to me that some fans who are simply fed up with Mignolet and have given up on him are projecting their desire for a new Keeper. But that may not be at all what Jürgen has in mind.
Having faith in the manager means to me that we accept whatever he decides to do and give our full support to the players who walk out to start each game — whoever they are.
Probably I was a bit brief in my explanation. This article is clearly a response to the negative press Karius has been getting since he came into the team and it is this that disappoints me. As I said originally, it’s an excellent article and a robust riposte to the above negative press. I’ve said elsewhere that Karius has looked shaky and I fully expected he would to. It’s what happens.
I take your point that having faith in a manager does not mean blindly agreeing with every decision he takes, and I’m not suggesting that it does. I am simply commenting on the apparent levels of desperation some fans seem to have to be ‘the first’ to declare a new player is not ‘up to it.’ Clearly the advent of social media has not helped in this regard.
There is nothing wrong with a conversation about players, what else can we really do as fans? The point is much of it has not been a conversation. I’ve seen Karius described as ‘genuinely terrible’, ‘dreadful’ and all the other clichés. That is what prompted the need for this article i.e. a defence of Karius two games into his Liverpool career. Shouldn’t have been necessary.
I have never understood the vitriol directed against Mignolet. He rarely ‘lets in’ a goal that he should save. He does, however, save many shots that look like certain goals. He’s been playing brilliantly this season. He made excellent saves and punches in all the matches so far. He’s actually been quite ‘commanding’ coming off his line.
Karius looks dreadful. At Derby he was hesitant on crosses and flapped at two of them. His kicking and distribution were unnecessarily flowery. He looked hesitant against Hull, while against Swansea we were lucky not to concede five. If Mignolet had put in that performance, he would have been slaughtered. Karius looks like he makes bad decisions, puts us in danger with his kicking and actually looks a bit short to be a really top class goalie.
We should have stuck with Mignolet while he remained in good form. Sure, bring in Karius, or preferably someone else if Mignolet loses form. But until then, why change a winning formula? Bad decision by Klopp.
Karius will get bombarded by United. Zlatan, Fellani, Pogba, Smalling – all massive in the air. And with wobbly Lovren and Matip in front of him, I don’t fancy our chances.
Bring back Mig.
Are you on a fishing trip? I’m going to have a nibble anyway
Firstly Klopps brought this lad in for a reason which we haven’t fully seen yet.
I’m guessing his starting position when we’ve got the ball up field is a factor, offering another passing option when were penning teams in and he’s comfortable on the ball enough to do it.
Hes had so little to do so far its hard to tell if he’s any good. The same can be said for Mignolet. Apart from the first 2 games we’ve hardly faced a shot. In fact if we carry on like this we may aswell say fuck it! Stick big Emre in goal!
And don’t be fooled by Mignolet pretending to play decent this season, that’s all hes doing,pretending, like when his bird told him to sort his head out and he did alright for a month.
Karius will improve massively I have no doubt about that he’s just back from injury caused trying to punch a ball and instead mashing his hand into Degzy Lovrens chiselled face. No wonder hes a bit hesitant coming for crosses.
And don’t forget the Achterberg factor, Good old John ruining keepers confidence since 2009.
How’s he still in a job? Must have pictures of John Henry and Tom Werner in compromising positions.
Just a positive on his Swansea performance – his distribution helped us out at the back massively. It’s nothing to be sniffed at – the way we play under Klopp, this is almost as important as the shot-stopping part of his job. He gives us another option when we’re pressed in defence and looks incredibly comfortable laying the ball off to either side, floating a pass over their attackers to the wings or simply hitting one of our forwards. Considering Bravo was brought in to do a similar thing for City and had a completely mad debut tells me that it’s not as easy as this lad makes it look.
As an offensive weapon (as weird as that is for a keeper), Karius has already improved us – Does anyone else really want to go back to having kittens everytime the ball heads in the direction of Mignolet’s feet?
Let’s put his decision making down to nerves, ey?