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"Nobody’s Perfect- The Trials and tribulations of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius" by Jason Harris


The position of Goalkeeper is one which is scrutinised to the finest degree by pundits all across the country. Basically you have to be very strong of mind and self-assured in your ability to block all of the outside noise, or cut from a different cloth to choose to become one in the first place.

 

In the past three seasons, Simon Mignolet would rank high on the list of the most discussed Liverpool players. While some may claim that being talked about is a form of flattery and relevance, most of the chatter about the 28 year-old has been of the negative variety.

 

It is a fact that the Belgian has failed to impose himself as a strong and decisive goalkeeper since his arrival from Sunderland three years ago. While the flaws in his game have been clear to see, in some ways he hasn’t been helped by the lack of competition for his position.

 

By and large Mignolet has been in the comfort zone, knowing that he is the undisputed No. 1 keeper and saw off challenges from Brad Jones and Adam Bogdan with relative ease.

 

After his arrival in the early part of last season, Jurgen Klopp played his cards close to his chest in regards to where he thought the team could improve. Regularly questioned on the subject of Goalkeeper, the German was incredibly supportive of Mignolet.

 

It came as somewhat of a surprise in the summer (albeit a pleasant one) that the manager decided to buy a keeper that could give Mignolet some top level competition.

 

Klopp could have easily gone down the easy road and bring in another “journeyman” who was happy to bide his time on the bench and be appreciative of the playing time he was given.

 

By signing Loris Karius, he brought in a young and hungry goalkeeper who had been an impressive performer in the Bundesliga for Mainz.

 

In the back of Mignolet’s mind, he would have been in little doubt that he had to go up another couple of levels to keep his competitor at bay.

 

This season has seen Mignolet and Karius have opportunities to stake their claim for a permanent position, but while the overall play of the team has exceeded all expectations, both players have let their chances go to waste.

 

When Mignolet lost his spot to Karius after the game against Chelsea, from the outside it appeared that the writing was on the wall for his Anfield career.

 

To be fair to Mignolet, he had not being playing badly, but Karius had recovered from a hand injury and it was the first sign that Klopp saw his fellow German as his preferred option between the posts.

 

Like with any new player to the club, there was an air of expectancy about Karius as the Reds haven’t had a standout keeper since Pepe Reina was in his prime last decade.

 

Karius was not duly tested in his first couple of appearances, however there were a few early signs of uncertainty in his game.

 

Playing for a new team and adjusting to the tempo of a new league were given as probable reasons behind his shakiness, but it all came to a head against Bournemouth.

 

When you make a mistake in goal, there is no place to hide, you cannot blame an errant pass or a lack of marking for your error.

 

In one soul destroying moment, Karius was introduced to the unrelenting nature of the English Football media landscape.

 

The analysis following that ill-timed fumble against the Cherries failed to let up all week and continued after the West Ham game where Karius was at fault for both of the Hammers goals.

 

As the criticism reached hysterical levels, Klopp made the kind of decision that top managers make an artform of, and took the young keeper out of the firing line.

 

Mignolet was handed an unexpected lifeline to rebuild his Liverpool career.

 

You can go two ways after losing your spot in the side. To Mignolet’s credit when he was out of the team he refused to give up and drop his head.

 

He would have undoubtedly put in extra hours on the training pitch looking to fix some of the faults that have plagued him in his Reds career to this point.

 

In his first two games back as first choice Goalkeeper, Mignolet played his role well, keeping clean sheets against Middlesboro and Everton.

 

On paper the Merseyside Derby looked to be a real litmus test for Mignolet in a hostile environment but he handled it well, albeit having little to deal with as the Blues registered just one shot on target for the evening.

 

Despite playing three fewer league games than Karius, Mignolet’s statistics measure up favourably.

 

He registers a higher save percentage, concedes less goals on average per minute as well as having a stronger command of his area through punches and catches.

 

Mignolet now finds himself thrust back into the limelight with a number of big games on the horizon.

 

If the Belgian can produce his best performances against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea it will go a long way to not only securing a top four position (and possibly more), it would also ease the doubts some of the fanbase have over this much discussed position in the team.

 

Mignolet also knows that a poor run of form will ultimately see him return to the substitutes bench and his immediate career at Anfield will be thrown into turmoil yet again.

 

At this point of time, the right decision has been made. Mignolet is the man for the moment, and it is now up to him to keep his goalkeeping rival at bay.

 

For Karius, the patience game begins. The predicament of a Number two goalkeeper must be one of the most awkward in all of sports.

 

You want your team to win, but you know mistakes (and/or injury) present you with a clear pathway back into the starting lineup.

 

Karius will undoubtedly be cheering wholeheartedly for every Reds goal and victory, but internally will be thinking of ways he can impress the manager and win his spot back.

 

Discussions are already raging about who the club can look to sign to replace one, or indeed both of the goalkeepers.

 

What cannot be overlooked is the position that the team is in at the moment.

 

It is not a time for panic buys and throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as stability is key in this point of time.

 

Karius at just 23 years old is certainly one to nurture and keep the faith with. While Mignolet is just five years older and approaching his prime as a Keeper.

 

What is certain is that the battle for the Number 1 shirt will be a fascinating subplot in the second half of the season.

 

Jason Harris


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32 Comments

A new goalkeeping coach is the first requirement. Mignolet has shown absolutely no improvement in the problem areas of his keeping and now Karius is having the same problems.Pepe in his final years, Bogdan,Jones et al all showed the same weaknesses

We don't necessarily need a new 'keeper, we desperately a new 'keeper coach.

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After Klopp defended Moreno, he dropped him.
After Klopp defended Karius, he dropped him.
After Klopp defended Achterberg?
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It came as somewhat of a surprise in the summer (albeit a pleasant one) that the manager decided to buy a keeper that could give Mignolet some top level competition. 

 

Completely disagree with this. We didn't need someone to provide Mignolet competition. We needed to fuck him off and sign a top class goalkeeper.

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Completely disagree with this. We didn't need someone to provide Mignolet competition. We needed to fuck him off and sign a top class goalkeeper.

 

Karius should have been that guy as he showed a high level at his previous club. That he is the second keeper to completely fall apart since arriving at Liverpool is the reason why there is potentially a deeper issue.

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Karius should have been that guy as he showed a high level at his previous club. That he is the second keeper to completely fall apart since arriving at Liverpool is the reason why there is potentially a deeper issue.

 

Karius cost £4 million. He was bombed out of City without making a senior appearance. He's now 23, and has 8 German caps in 8 years across the U16 - U21 teams, including 1 U21 cap (in 2014).

 

Why should he have been "that guy"? He has no pedigree. Please don't mention Pepe Reina. Pepe Reina had 30 appearances for the senior Barcelona team, was the regular Spain U21 keeper and had over 100 games for Villareal including late stage European competition before joining us. Please don't mention David De Gea. David De Gea was an £18 million signing, and Atletico Madrid's senior keeper since the age of 18. These are not sensible comparisons.

 

Stopped reading at "it came as a surprise in the summer the manager decided to buy a keeper". Surprise to who?

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Load of bollocks.

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Karius cost £4 million. He was bombed out of City without making a senior appearance. He's now 23, and has 8 German caps in 8 years across the U16 - U21 teams, including 1 U21 cap (in 2014).

 

Why should he have been "that guy"? He has no pedigree. 

 

Neuer is one of the best keepers in the history of the sport and Ter Stegen has been an absolute wunderkind since he was 18 years old. There are no opportunities to get caps. That's all there is to it. It says nothing about his own quality. He could have been the first choice keeper at the Olympics this summer but decided against it to get a preseason here.

 

Klopp decided to buy a very talented young keeper who performed at a high enough level that he was thought of as better than every other keeper in Germany bar Neuer. Given we decided to go down the youth route, that's as high a pedigree as you're going to get from a 23 year old keeper. 

 

If your issue is that we didn't go for someone more experienced then that's fine, but you should probably realize that LFC is a long term project for Klopp, therefore he was always going to go for someone younger.

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Jason had to be pissed when he wrote that.
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Load of bollocks.


This post is a disgrace.
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I simply dont blame Karius for the 2nd West Ham goal and never will. The deflection the ball took made the striker favourite and Karius did the textbook thing be moving down the line of ball as quickly as he could and then setting himself once the attacker reached the ball. He was at fault for the first,no doubt, but its something a lot of goalkeepers are doing,which is showing too much 'bias' towards the non wall side and putting too much faith in the wall itself. To be fair to Karius he almost made up the ground but the damage was already done with the set up. The Bournemouth mistake was inexcusable but the whole team must take the blame for throwing away a 3-1 lead too. Mignolet was at fault for the Stoke goal yesterday but made an excellent stop from Joe Allen and had little to do from then on. Mignolet now has the gloves,and rightly so but confidence,and luck,are the key to who comes out on top.
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Mignolet has been better before and after Karius' games this season, by a huge margin. Not just in saves but in general demeanour.  He could have done better with the Stoke goal yesterday but Karius has made loads of worse mistakes than that.  The main difference is that Mignolet actually looks like he has a clue what he's doing when he comes for a cross.  I can't actually believe I'm typing that mind you

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And not one mention of Mignolet's dreadful distribution. I still see his kicks and throws fail to be the right one, fail to even be nearly the right one. In my book he's a decent keeper. If he could consistently make good decisions with the ball in his possession, he'd be a pretty good keeper; better than many in the premier league, but not good enough to make a title-winning difference.
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I don't think Mignolet's save from Allen was anything special. He got lucky it didn't land at Crouch's feet.
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I don't think Mignolet's save from Allen was anything special. He got lucky it didn't land at Crouch's feet.

 

Yep. We're now so far into our goalkeeping version of Stockholm syndrome that we're praising keepers for actually making regular saves.

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Karius wasn't really at fault for West ham's second, lets be honest it was 80% Matip

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I don't think Mignolet's save from Allen was anything special. He got lucky it didn't land at Crouch's feet.

What a nonsense.

Ask any keeper, that's one of the hardest saves to make, and that's without taking into account the clever shimmy Allen did to fake the first shot.

And he got enough on it to push it away from Crouch. Let's not even mention how quickly he got up again after that.

We know what he is, we don't need to create illusions on the back of some very good performances for us.
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Klopp is not going to go out and sign a world class keeper nor any other world class outfield player for that matter. It's not his style. He prefers to try and make a "lesser" player better.

 

The clear difficulty here though is that Klopp is no goalkeeper coach so has to delegate the coaching aspect to Achterberg. Im sure Klopp tries to motivate his keepers just the same as he does the outfield players.

 

It is very difficult to identify a 'quality' keeper who isnt 'world class' and doesnt fuck up nowadays. you can rhymn them off, Hart, Heaton, Forster, Schmichel even Pickford at Sunderland all make mistakes.

 

Im hoping he signed Manninger to succeed Achterberg. Whether that's the case or not we'll see. Id love us to sign Buffon and get a season or two out of him.

 

Other than that, Id push the boat out and sign the lad from Milan, Dunroaming or whatever he's called (Donnarumma) but they'd probably want £75m or more for him.

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Karius wasn't really at fault for West ham's second, lets be honest it was 80% Matip


Thank you for seeing this as so many observers simply want to blame Karius for everything that they are so blinkered to that goal. I dont know if it was down to Matip but the deflection helped the attacker as Karius would have made a comfortable save without it.
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I don't agree with the idea that we should "nurturing" a young keeper by promoting him to the first team, By all means bring in Karius as a back up but for fucks sake it wasn't complicated in the summer. Mignolet was a busted flush and we needed to recruit a top class keeper , We are trying to win the league this season , not next season or five years down the line. We cannot afford to mess about gambling on a rookie.

Too late now we are stuck with the pair of them for the season and I have no doubt our chances of the title are seriously diminished as a result.

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What a nonsense.

Ask any keeper, that's one of the hardest saves to make, and that's without taking into account the clever shimmy Allen did to fake the first shot.

And he got enough on it to push it away from Crouch. Let's not even mention how quickly he got up again after that.

We know what he is, we don't need to create illusions on the back of some very good performances for us.

If he'd have let it in it would have been a goalkeeping mistake. In truth it was a poor finish from Allen. Mignolet gave him a lot to aim at across the goal.
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Have we ever had a goalkeeper who was his country's undisputed No1? Out of all the keepers' names I can recall, I reckon only Elisha Scott and Bruce Grobbelaar come under that category. Everybody else seemed to be fighting it out for the national team position, with only sporadic spells as the top dog, or else they were definitely 2nd or 3rd choice.

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Have we ever had a goalkeeper who was his country's undisputed No1? Out of all the keepers' names I can recall, I reckon only Elisha Scott and Bruce Grobbelaar come under that category. Everybody else seemed to be fighting it out for the national team position, with only sporadic spells as the top dog, or else they were definitely 2nd or 3rd choice.

 

Friedel was close?

 

82 caps.

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I don't agree with the idea that we should "nurturing" a young keeper by promoting him to the first team, By all means bring in Karius as a back up but for fucks sake it wasn't complicated in the summer. Mignolet was a busted flush and we needed to recruit a top class keeper , We are trying to win the league this season , not next season or five years down the line. We cannot afford to mess about gambling on a rookie.

Too late now we are stuck with the pair of them for the season and I have no doubt our chances of the title are seriously diminished as a result.

 

 

We should sign Joe Hart. 

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No
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