Jurgen Klopp has made his first signing of the summer in the week just gone, with Loris Karius joining The Reds from Klopp’s former club Mainz 05.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper has been brought in on a long-term deal, and looks to be an immediate replacement for current stand-in Adam Bodgan; who had a torrid first season at Anfield last year, also paving the way for the more promising Danny Ward to head out on loan again with the aim of gaining more first-team experience.
However, Karius could also been seen as Liverpool’s new first choice ‘keeper, with pressure growing on current number one Simon Mignolet, whose performances have been brought into question in recent months by fans and pundits alike.
There will be a great deal of Liverpool fans who will be wondering if Karius can indeed realistically compete for a regular spot in the starting XI, so let’s have a look at the stats of his career so far compared to that of his Belgian counterpart.
Focusing on his time at his most recent club Mainz, Karius made 96 appearances since stepping up from the youth team in 2012, and has let in no goals in 90 minutes on 32 occasions during his time there – equating to a clean sheet percentage of 31%.
If that is compared to Mignolet, he has pulled on the Liverpool jersey 149 times, yet has only managed to keep 48 clean sheets in all competitions. That equates to a clean sheet percentage of 32%, not much more than that of Karius.
Granted, Mignolet has played a lot more games for Liverpool than Karius has played for Mainz, so perhaps it is a little bit unfair to compare the two based on that, but the similarity here is interesting nonetheless.
However, looking at the stats from last season alone, and focusing on just the two leagues, Mignolet kept 11 clean sheets for Liverpool in 34 games, conceding 42 goals in the process. This is in contrast to The Reds’ newest recruit, who kept 9 clean sheets in the same number of games and also conceded the same number of goals as the Belgian international.
Despite that, Karius was voted the third-best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season in an opinion poll held on the league’s official website; and was even second-best according to his fellow professionals, while Mignolet had the most errors leading to goals in the Premier League last season, with four in total.
Looking at the stats alone, it is looking increasingly likely that Klopp could favour the younger German between the sticks at Anfield, but where would that leave Mignolet? The former Sunderland shot-stopper is coming to an age where he needs to be playing football on a regular basis, and if he can’t get that at Liverpool, it could well be possible that he may be on the move during the summer window.
With no European football at the club this year, Klopp cannot simply use one for domestic games and the other for continental competitions, and neither would be happy to play just cup games at Liverpool next term.
It will be interesting to see how the situation develops at Anfield. One possibility is rotating the pair over the course of the season, or to keep Mignolet as first choice and Karius as cover. The problem Klopp will have on his hands is that both keepers will be itching to play regularly for the club, and it will be up to him to get the balance right in order to keep the pair happy.
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