When Liverpool brought Jurgen Klopp to Anfield as Brendan Rodgers’ replacement back in October 2015, it was seen as the beginning of great things for a Merseyside giant that has failed to exceed recent expectations, but the stats in the last 15 months haven’t been impressive despite an explosive start to life under the German.
After 54 Premier League games as Liverpool’s manager, Klopp has a record of 26 wins, 16 draws and 12 losses, the same record Rodgers held after his first 54 league fixtures in charge, and the current crop of players under the erstwhile Dortmund manager are seen as the problems.
The goalkeeping department has been singled out in this regards, with Klopp reportedly not convinced with the form of either Karius or Mignolet after both committed costly errors in the Premier League campaign which Liverpool have dearly paid for.
As a result, the Reds have identified Inter Milan goalie and Slovenia international Samir Handanović as a summer transfer target in order to have trusted hand in between the stick for subsequent campaigns. However, while the veteran Serie A shot-stopper looks like an upgrade on the duo of Mignolet and Karius, he could end up being a needless panic buy instead.
Klopp can learn from Manchester City when it comes to having top goalies arriving the top flight and failing woefully to live up to the expectations. From top goalie in the La Liga to serial flop in between the goal at the Premier League, Bravo highlighted why even keepers aren’t exempted from the struggles often associated with adapting to top-flight football.
It might be a different case with Handanović though, but it remains a gamble which its outcome can’t be known in advance until after it has been taken as the club found out with Karius’ signature. And the German is a reason why getting another top goalie in summer shouldn’t be necessary.
Despite the howlers the 23-year-old committed, it can’t be denied that he is still a quality long-term option for Liverpool, and with a solid defence in front of him, he would only get better. Both him and his Belgian counterpart have often been left exposed by their rearguard, and things wouldn’t be better with Handanovic in goal behind that leaky and shaky defence.
What the team needs is more quality defenders who are able to provide quality cover to whosoever is in goal every now and then, and they would be good to go. Samir will without a doubt bring solid assurance to Liverpool’s goal if snatched up from Inter, but so would either of Mignolet and Karius if equipped with a defence as solid as Chelsea’s or Tottenham’s.
Klopp sure wants to make a statement at the club after their title ambitions fell apart following some series of recent poor results, while Mignolet’s many errors last term that resulted in goals conceded subsequently seeing his side drop points are well documented, but recruiting another goalie has proven not to be the solution.
So maybe the problem isn’t actually with the man in between the stick but those ahead of him – from defensive midfield, defence, and also a general defensive output from the whole team.
A move for Samir Handanovic could turn out to be a panic buy for Liverpool as it could be eventually discovered in the end that the outfield players are actually the ones with the issues.