With news emerging from Liverpool’s US tour that new goalkeeper signing Loris Karius has suffered a broken hand, which looks set to keep him out of action for around two months, Jurgen Klopp has already suffered yet another injury blow before the season kicks off. Whilst undoubtedly a blow to Liverpool’s hopes, it will delay the goalkeeping headache for Klopp, as he has to choose between Simon Mignolet and the club’s £4.7 million signing to play between the sticks.
It had largely been expected that the 23-year-old German would be the one to start off the season in the starting eleven before he picked up the frustrating injury in Thursday’s defeat to Chelsea in a pre-season friendly. Having previously kept clean sheets in all of the club’s pre-season fixtures before the defeat, and with Karius showing signs of good form, it is even more disappointing to lose the former Mainz keeper.
That means that Mignolet looks set to return to be the number one choice, much to the dismay of Klopp and Liverpool fans. Whilst Mignolet’s record points to a half decent goalkeeper with a number of clean sheets, the Anfield faithful would tell a different story. Barely ever reliable, inconsistent and nervous at the best of times, Mignolet’s superb shot stopping skills do not make up for his other faults which have prevented him from reaching the next level.
The Belgian, who spent Euro 2016 on the bench behind Thibaut Courtois, failed to impress Jurgen Klopp during the second half of last season, and the German boss immediately sought a replacement this summer, with Karius signing on early in the summer before many managers, players and agents were even back from their holidays. Now, Mignolet will have another chance to prove himself, but it’s clear that he will have to be in impressive form if he is to retain the number one spot when Karius returns, which is expected to be in October after surgery.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have three goalkeepers out on loan as Dan Ward gains experience at Huddersfield, Ryan Fulton does the same at Chesterfield, and Adam Bogdan has been ditched and sent to Wigan. It remains unclear whether or not the injury would change any of their situations, but with new rules regarding the loan market, it would make it very difficult for the club to recall either Ward or Fulton from their loan spells, and Klopp has already made it clear that Bogdan has no future at Anfield.
That means that the recent signing of Alex Manninger looks set to be a good piece of business for the club after early reactions from neutrals found it unnecessary almost to the extent that it was laughable. The 39-year-old is unlikely to get much, if any, playing time on Merseyside even with the injury to Karius, but he will be able to provide experienced cover for Simon Mignolet during the spell, when the club may otherwise have been forced to look to the under 18s for a second choice ‘keeper.
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