Liverpool’s form has slipped in recent weeks and they have taken only four points from their last four matches. The main talking point has been the performances of Loris Karius, who has been criticised by a number of pundits. Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville are among his fiercest critics and it is becoming an issue for Jurgen Klopp. He signed his fellow German to be his number one goalkeeper at Anfield, but there is only a number of times that he can defend his summer signing. Karius’ judgement hasn’t been what it should be and that has contributed to his side conceding goals.
Sometimes people underestimate how difficult it is being a goalkeeper. It is arguably the hardest position on the pitch and Karius also has to adjust to a new league. The first few months at a new club are always the hardest and the most pertinent example is David de Gea. He struggled initially at Manchester United, before emerging as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Sir Alex Ferguson managed the situation well and helped his goalkeeper through a difficult time. Jurgen Klopp now needs to do the same with Karius and it will be a huge test of his man-management skills.
The problem with this situation is that Karius is coming under a lot of pressure from pundits and on social media. It is clearly having an effect on his confidence and it is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more criticism that he receives, the more his confidence will fall and the more mistakes he will make. It is fine for people to say that he should have a stronger mentality and ignore the criticism, but that isn’t always easy, especially as the scapegoating of him is reaching uncomfortable levels. He is a human being who is already dealing with a move to a new country and a new league. The added stress of dealing with criticism is obviously too much for him.
There has been a goalkeeping problem at Liverpool since they sold Pepe Reina and that is something that needs to be corrected. John Achterberg has been criticised in the past for the club’s problems in goal, with both Simon Mignolet and now Karius making simple errors. The problem could be a lot deeper than simply the person with the number one jersey and that is something that Klopp seriously needs to consider if he wants to turn Liverpool into a title challenger.
Back to Karius, there are calls from Liverpool fans to bring Mignolet back into the fold. The issue with that is that it has already been proven that the Belgian isn’t good enough for the level that the Reds are aspiring to do. Although there are questions about Karius, he could still become the player that Liverpool want in their goalkeeper. He is good with is feet and is thought to be one of the best young German goalkeepers coming through at the moment. The 23-year-old hasn’t got his reputation for no reason and he needs to be given more of a chance to prove himself.
The next few weeks will be crucial for Karius and he needs to be managed correctly. It could be good for him if he is withdrawn from the firing line for a few matches and allow him to rebuild his confidence on the training ground. The German goalkeeper is clearly Klopp’s man and he needs to be reassured that he is going to be the long term number one, but the criticism is reaching an uncomfortable level. Klopp needs to protect his player first and foremost, which could mean a change is best for the player and the team.