Matthew Sinton, after a period of time to cool down and reflect, takes a look at Liverpool’s frustrating draw with West Ham on Sunday.
Our clash with West Ham United on Sunday afternoon ended in a 2-2 draw, extending our unbeaten home run but really it was another disappointing result.
It started well, with Adam Lallana finding the net within five minutes. Many would have thought at this point that it could end up being an embarrassment for the Hammers, but we seemed to slow down. Payet equalised from an easy free kick – I must say, Karius’ positioning there was very questionable – and a lucky deflected ball fell to Antonio who put West Ham 2-1 up going into half time.
We started the second half in similar fashion, with Divock Origi finding the net about two minutes after the restart – again, though, we failed to build on that. We completely dominated the second half but were just unable to find the net again, leaving everyone at Anfield, players and fans, very frustrated.
We do seem to have been struggling since the injury to Phillipe Coutinho – the 2-0 win over Sunderland almost didn’t go our way either – but you can hardly point the finger at our attack over our recent dip in form. We’ve still scored five goals in our last two games.
One man who fans will be very quick to point the finger at is our goalkeeper, Loris Karius. His positioning was poor for Payet’s free kick and you could argue that he should have been more decisive for Antonio’s goal. It is easy to be annoyed with him as without these errors – you decide whether or not he was to blame – we could have had three to five extra points from our last two games. His poor form leaves us in a difficult situation, but I’m not sure Klopp will be dropping him anytime soon.
Fans calling for Karius to be dropped and for Mignolet to come back into the team could be forgetting how many times we were in this situation with the Belgian last season – without his individual errors we would have finished considerably higher up the table. Although he has done a decent job when called upon so far this season, would it be wise to bring him back? Being replaced could destroy what confidence Karius has left, so what if Mignolet returns to his error-prone ways?
A lot of fans, TV pundits and even former players have made a very convincing argument that perhaps the goalkeeping problem lies deeper, in the hands of our goalkeeping coach John Achterberg.
As silly as it might sound at first, it’s certainly hard to deny. You may remember how Pepe Reina declined in his later days for Liverpool, before being loaned out and eventually leaving the club. This was at the same time Achterberg joined the first team. Simon Mignolet was Sunderland Player of the Year for two seasons running, and we all know how his move to Merseyside turned out.
Furthermore, Karius was voted 2nd best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season, behind Manuel Neuer. Surely someone second only to the world’s best keeper shouldn’t be performing like this. Why does it continue to happen to us? Could Achterberg be the problem?