Paul Stafford examines Loris Karius and his poor form in goal for Liverpool and discusses if Simon Mignolet should be selected over the German shot-stopper.
I was a bit critical of Liverpool’s performance last weekend, so this time around, I wanted to be more positive, but other than Roberto Firmino finally ridding himself of his hideous top knot, I just can’t see any positives to take away from this game. It was another two points dropped against a struggling West Ham side that was there for the taking.
Right now, Liverpool have a big problem and his name is Loris Karius! Jurgen Klopp will keep sticking with him regardless of his performances because he signed him and doesn’t want to admit to the world that he made a mistake by doing so. But he actually looks more foolish by stubbornly sticking with him while he is going through such a rough patch of form.
Klopp has infamously compared Karius’s start to that of David De Gea’s at United, but unlike Karius, De Gea was dropped until he could regain his form. Simon Mignolet was also dropped by Brendan Rodgers in favour of Brad Jones when he was going through the same troubles.
Karius was at fault for both goals against West Ham! His positioning for Payet’s free kick, one of the best free-kick takers in Europe, was absolutely atrocious. He was all the way over to one side of his goal, leaving acres of space for Payet to curl it over the wall and into the net. Judging by the way he got a hand to it, if he was positioned more towards the centre he would have saved it. The distance away from the goal was favourable to such an adept specialist as Payet. Everyone in the stadium, including the match commentators, knew that Payet was going over the wall and into the corner, everyone, that is, except Karius! He practically invited him to score when he left so much open goal to shoot at.
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Karius had football royalty watching in the forms of Bruce Grobbelaar and Ray Clemence, and you could see by the wince on Grobbelaar’s face what he thought of it all. At the moment Liverpool could do with either one of them protecting the goal, as well as Sami Hyppia, who was sitting alongside them.
The second goal was also the fault of Karius! He did not charge at Antonio, barring down on him to put him off his shot. Instead, he froze, rooted to the spot, and allowed him to ‘knick’ the ball past him to trickle into the goal. It is exactly this indecisiveness that provokes comparisons to Simon Mignolet.
When Simon Mignolet was thrust into the limelight for all the wrong reasons, he was dropped and he has been dropped this season in favour of Loris Karius, who is supposedly a superior ‘keeper. Klopp should feel fit to drop Karius until he picks his head up to become De Gea, the man he has been compared to.
One need only look at the smirk on Klopp’s face to recognise that instead of seeing it that way, he was merely contemplating what the headlines were going to read. This poor patch of form will pass, just as Mignolet’s and De Gea’s did, it is only a matter of time. Until then it would be wise to take him out of the firing line and give his competition a shot.