Alex Rogers assesses John Achterberg, Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach and discusses whether it’s time for him to leave the club.
After Sunday’s frustratingly horrible draw against West Ham, there has been a meltdown in the Liverpool fan base. I’ve seen opinions ranging from rather tame views such as, “It was just one of those games,” to rather horrible opinions that Karius should die. Absolutely disgusting view.
But one opinion stuck out to me, and it’s a view that’s been gaining traction as of late. What if it’s not our goalkeepers that are under performing, but our goalkeeping coach, John Achterberg, who is under performing.
A possibility that hasn’t really occurred to me until recently. The first I heard of it was from a fellow Rousing the Kop writer, that maybe Achterberg is the problem. After the game against West Ham, where Loris Karius had a bit of a mare between the sticks for a second game in a row, letting in a rather soft free kick from Payet, causing outraged fans to call for Karius’ head.
But Achterberg was also called into question from many of the fans. Bruce Grobbelaar, Liverpool legend, has also called into question the credibility of Achterberg in the past and the evidence that Achterberg may not be the man for the job seems to pile up.
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Let’s take Mignolet for example. Mignolet won Belgian goalkeeper of the year in 2009 when he was only 21, a very impressive accolade. Even when he played for Sunderland, he was considered a very exciting player and one of the best shot-stoppers in the league but since then, he’s not really improved in his years at the club. In fact, some could say he’s been very disappointing for Liverpool.
And now let’s take Reina. Ahh, Reina, a lovely man and an excellent goalkeeper. Even now at Napoli, he’s being consistently good. Funny how the man we got to replace the “declining” Reina, and the man we got to replace the man that replaced Reina, are both currently not playing as good as the man we got rid of years ago. Funny how things turn out. Strangely, Reina only had his dip in form when Achterberg was appointed.
Now let’s take Brad Jones. Brad Jones had been at Liverpool for a respectable amount of time, but never did he seem like a fantastic player. Now playing for Feyenoord in the Netherlands, he has just won the award for best goalkeeper in 2016. What. The. Fuck. Didn’t know Brad had it in him!
And now let’s take Liverpool’s newest scapegoat, Loris Karius. I’ve been a constant defender of the German, and I definitely still am, but it’s fair to say some of his mistakes have been shocking. But these mistakes seem to be hugely uncharacteristic of him from his performances last year in the Bundesliga.
I’ve mentioned time and time again that a player who featured in the team of the season and was voted second best goalkeeper by his fellow professionals at the age of 22, doesn’t suddenly lose the ability to save a shot. Yet here we are! Yes, it could be down to severe lack of confidence or even adjusting to a new league and team, but maybe, just maybe, it’s down to the goalkeeping coach?
I hate to play the blame game, I really do, but since Reina left, all of our goalkeepers have been poor. I didn’t include Bogdan in the list, but did I really have to? John Achterberg is the last remaining member of backroom staff from during the Brendan Rodgers era, the rest having been replaced by Klopp’s staff, and maybe it’s time for him to leave? A lot of other people think so too.