Jurgen Klopp gave a lengthy explanation about Liverpool’s ‘long-term’ plans with the goalkeeping situation from this point onwards last night, following our easy 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.
The manager made the brave call to pull under-fire Loris Karius out of the spotlight, after the German’s poor performances in recent weeks, and deploy Simon Mignolet instead.
Predictably, the Belgian put in an excellent show on his recall, making one outstanding save from Viktor Fischer in particular.
According to Klopp, Mignolet will get a run in the side now, but Karius remains the long-term option. Right now though, the 23-year-old needed protecting and it’s a smart decision to us his more experienced counterpart instead.
“The situation is LFC is a long-term project,” Klopp told a news conference afterwards. “We really want to improve the club.
“We know we have to be successful as soon as possible, but on the other hand we all feel comfortable in the situation with each other — the goalkeepers included.
“I know how strong Loris Karius is, but unfortunately he couldn’t show it in the last one, two, three games — I’m not sure, that’s not too important.
“I am absolutely not interested in public pressure, but I am interested in the boy and there is no reason to push him through this situation. In the end, everything is one little mistake — which can happen to each goalkeeper in the world.
“So after one little mistake, should I say ‘OK, that’s it, final judgement — I don’t want to see him anymore?’ There’s absolutely no reason, especially when you have a goalkeeper like Simon Mignolet in training, on the bench, in character…a great footballer, a really, really good goalkeeper.
“He played really well at the beginning of the season, so there is no reason [to] push Loris through, that’s why we made this change quite early and that’s all, nothing else. We are fine and good.
“Now it is Simon’s chance. I am really happy with our goalkeeper situation. We have these two really, really good goalkeepers; a very experienced Alex Manninger, who is a wonderful person; three outstanding really young goalkeepers.
“The goalkeeping situation at Liverpool is really good so that’s why I said there is no reason to push one through, we want to develop the players.
“We are fine with our boys. Loris is still very young, he is a big, big goalkeeping talent and everything will be good in the end but there is no timeframe for when he will be back.”
Hopefully, Mignolet can prove he deserves the no.1 spot right now. His time out of the side will have hurt, and if it propels him to bigger and better things, then it will prove a sensible decision by Klopp in the first place.
What we can’t afford now though is to directly lose anymore points due to goalkeeper error. Both Mignolet and Karius will be aware of this.