Michael Mongie takes a look at how Loris Karius will challenge Simon Mignolet for the starting goalkeeping berth for the 2016/2017 season.
I think I speak for the global Liverpool fan base when I say that I am well and truly done with feeling anxious when our defenders play the ball backwards. There have been too many ‘heart in mouth’ moments where Liverpool’s clumsy Belgian shot stopper is concerned.
I appreciate that a goalkeeper’s primary objective is not to send the ball all over the park but, in the modern game the role of a goalkeeper has adapted along with so many other facets of the sport. For instance, 50 years ago fullbacks weren’t necessarily required to get forward and assist in attack. However, fast forward to 2016 and it is a pre-requisite for a young left-back to get forward and whip the ball in. – although not too often Alberto.
Perhaps that’s the issue? Simon Mignolet is a goalkeeper who has been the victim of a time warp and was actually born in 1930. It would explain his seemingly perpetual state of confusion. He simply hasn’t been able to get used to the transition from Europe in the era of World War II to the equally crazy modern day Europe.
Loris Karius is his modern-day counterpart, well accustomed to things like kicking the ball and not holding onto it for more than 6 seconds. It’s a bit far-fetched but you get the idea.
In all seriousness, Liverpool has a real gem on their hands in Karius. I made a joke on Twitter a couple days ago saying that he would Karius to the title and while it was as poor a pun as any, the foundation of logic is there. Very few title winning sides go 38 games and concede 50 goals on the way. Conceding that many goals is truly mid-table form and it is the main priority for Jürgen Klopp to eradicate such a poor defensive display.
His first signing of intent is Jöel Matip from FC Shalke. The towering centre-back featured in Whoscored.com’s Bundesliga team of the season with a rating of 7.32. The team is selected solely on statistics and while numbers rarely paint a full canvas he is a player who didn’t concede a single goal as a result of a defensive error. The same goes for Karius.
Klopp seems to be buying players who are both assured in defence and tall. The signing of Marko Grujić lends weight to this as well, or height should I say. Matip and Grujić are both over 6 ft 3 which will help prevent Liverpool being so weak in the air.
Karius, however, is the man I believe most likely to shore up the leaky defence that shipped half a century worth of goals, just in the Premier League. When Leicester won the league last season they conceded 36 goals, when Chelsea won the league in the 2014/15 season they conceded only 32 goals and when Manchester City pipped Liverpool to honours in the 2013/14 season they conceded 37 goals.
Liverpool conceded at least 13 more goals than the last 3 Premier League champions. The irony is that it’s not inconceivable to win the league with a terrible defence. The 13/14 season that Manchester City won the league, Liverpool conceded 50 goals, same as last season, and finished second. Which means it takes a superb strike force like the SAS which boasted Luis Suarez and a firing Daniel Sturridge.
Seeing as it is doubtful that Liverpool will have a man like Luis Suarez for a long time it is suggestible that whatever challenge is mounted comes from the whole team not just an amazing attacking partnership. As yet, Liverpool is yet to be linked with an attacker other than Mario Götze which looks less and less likely to happen.
When Karius signed his contract he definitely had it in mind that he will be the starting goalkeeper come August, justifiably so. It is very difficult to feel sympathetic for Simon Mignolet after the last two years of torment we have been through on his part.
I would be best pleased if Mignolet figured out how to operate the worm hole which brought him to the 21st century and returned to a time when a goalkeeper wasn’t required to kick the ball. Perhaps, then his bemused smile would be replaced by one that doesn’t indicate a constant state of perplexity.
Featured Image – Metro UK