Intrigue between the sticks

Jurgen Klopp reportedly keen to keep Karius on as number one

Reports coming out of Melwood yesterday indicate that Jurgen Klopp is happy to keep Loris Karius as his number one next season. Nothing is official yet, but if true, it would be interesting to see if the young German can recover from his nadir in Kiev.

Fans should trust Klopp’s judgement, but it does seem a little risky to say the least. The mental impact on Karius’s ability and psyche could be long lasting as well as detrimental to his game. However, despite his loyalty to his players Klopp is not naive. He will likely keep his options wide open this summer in his assessments of the club’s goalkeepers, with a final decision to be made in the coming weeks.

Change afoot

Regardless of the Karius question, there is likely to be new personnel signed in that department this summer. With thirty year old Simon Mingolet on big money and sat on the bench getting splinters, it is highly likely that he will depart for pastures new.

Fulham have been linked with the Belgian as well as Napoli, therefore it is unlikely we’ll struggle to find a buyer. His wages could be a stumbling block though, but at this stag of his career he will want to play regularly, so he could well force a move.

Ward or another

If Mingolet does depart then it would leave a gaping hole at the number two slot.  This opportunity could see Danny Ward potentially step up and fill it, moving a step closer to the first team game time he so desperately needs.

The Welsh international has done a decent job in his handful of Liverpool starts he’s had so far, plus he has had two impressive loan spells at Aberdeen and Huddersfield. Whether or not he’s now at the required level though is yet to be fully discerned.  The pressure will be enormous next season for everyone, so Ward will need to be ready for that if he is to be called on.

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The number two role is deceptively important. United, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs all have quite senior reserve options which says a lot. If disaster struck and your first team keeper was out with long term injury then you need a viable option to come in who is ready and more importantly, capable, of performing.

Is Ward ready if he was to be chucked in the at the deep end? Again it seems a very risky situation for a club pushing to compete at the top. It may well be that Klopp seeks another option in reserve and sends Ward out on loan again.

Vital

Whatever the final outcome of this situation, whoever is between the sticks next season will play a huge role in the club’s ambitions.  No side can truly challenge with a dodgy ‘keeper.  Not only does it unsettle the back four, but it becomes a psychological drain on the club. With the demands for success so heightened for the coming season, it is crucial that our keeper is ready mentally, be it Karius or any other player.

A seasoned back up stopper might be a decent, cost effective solution ultimately.  With players like Alisson and Oblak likely to cost eye watering sums, Klopp seems reluctant to blunder in and open the cheque book, despite please from the fans.  If we can find someone to come in a give us a couple of years good service, and maybe even play as number one while Karius regains some confidence then is may prove to be perfect solution.

Ultimately, we would all like to see a truly world class player brought it in to really bolster the ranks. In last thirty years, we have only really had Pepe Riena, so it would be pleasant to say the least to see a keeper of his class brought in again.  However it now looks as though we will all be seeing a lot more of Karius next season.  It would be a truly monumental piece of coaching and man management if Klopp can get back to the levels he looked to be reaching before his nightmare last May.

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