Karius or Mignolet? Who should take Liverpool’s number one jersey
Having scored the most goals in 2016, there’s no hiding the fact that Liverpool are an incredible team going forward.
The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have been crucial to the sudden change of style in attack, with all three starting forwards playing a free role up top.
The combination play between Brazilians Firmino and Coutinho has been a partnership that many defences can’t seem to stop. Throw in Sturridge, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana, and you have a well-stocked attack for the campaign ahead.
A comfortable 5-1 victory over Hull City at the weekend proved that the Reds are back to the times where they comfortably pushed past lesser teams in the league, clearly learning from their earlier defeat to Burnley. Coutinho, Lallana and Mane were all on the scoresheet, as well as two James Milner penalties.
However, the main statistic that Reds fans will be looking at following their victory is the goals conceded department. Liverpool were cruising in the game, having gone 3-0 up at half-time, with an extra player on the pitch.
There was no reason for them to concede, with Hull setting up for damaged limitations rather than trying to get back into the game.
But they nearly did. David Meyler fired past new goalkeeper Loris Karius to get Hull back in the game. Fortunately for the Reds, Coutinho restored their three-goal lead just a minute later, but it is clearly the biggest issue Jurgen Klopp’s men face this season.
Over the years, Simon Mignolet has been criticised countless times for his inability to control his penalty area. Although a great shot stopper, the ‘keeper’s unwillingness to collect crosses confidently and insecurities when dealing with awkward situations have led to him being dropped.
It has happened before though, just fortunately for him, his replacement Brad Jones, was unable to provide consistent competition.
Now though, Mignolet faces his biggest test in a Liverpool shirt. The signing of Karius was a hint from Klopp that he wanted more from his current number one goalkeeper. With many fans regularly blaming the Belgian for dropped points in the past, Klopp saw an opportunity to shore up an area of their leaky defence.
At only 23-years-old, Karius appears to be a long-term replacement for Mignolet. Rated as one of the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga last season, fans who have seen him play will understand the hype around a man tipped to be the next Manuel Neuer.
Following an unfortunate pre-season, which saw Karius break his hand, the German seems to be back to full fitness and raring to snatch the number one jersey from Mignolet’s grasp.
Confident displays against Derby County and Hull have seen him cast in a brighter light in the eyes of Liverpool fans, and it could see the end of Mignolet’s career at Anfield. An interesting choice awaits Klopp in their next fixture against Swansea City, with both goalkeepers eyeing a chance to feature in Liverpool’s game after that, against rivals Manchester United.