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Premier League football has kicked off once again after a tedious international break and the teams are rejuvenated once more as they have strengthened their squad within 31st August’s deadline of summer transfer window. Liverpool, too, recruited a few new resources but failed to acquire one new centre-back which was their top most priority all summer.
The Reds, however, need not worry about one slot in their squad, which is that of the goalkeeper’s, as they already have four custodians, including forgotten man Adam Bogdan, Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius, and Danny Ward – with 3 of the 4 being decent enough to earn first-team status.
Simon Mignolet is the most experienced of all, who joined the Reds back in the summer of 2013 from Sunderland. However, his inconsistency and erroneous display eventually forced Jurgen Klopp, the Reds boss, to bring in a proper back-up in order to provide enough competition between the sticks.
Klopp opted to sign young German custodian Loris Karius from FSV Mainz 05 last summer following his scintillating campaign in Bundesliga circuit. Also, Danny Ward, club’s Academy prodigy, emerged through the ranks and was loaned out to then Championship outfit Huddersfield Town after a few impressive outings in Klopp’s first season in English football.
Mignolet, the 29-year-old Belgian, started last campaign as the first-choice keeper but soon lost his place to Karius as a result of his unconvincing performances that repeatedly cost his side dear. He struggled with his positioning and distribution skills, and Karius grabbed the opportunity with a few consecutive decent appearances.
But a couple of subpar performances (especially against Bournemouth at Dean Court) forced Klopp to drop him as well, and he brought back Mignolet for the second half of the campaign. The competition for the starting slot improved the Belgian immensely as he played a massive part in Liverpool’s fourth-placed league finish.
Klopp now has a new selection dilemma with Danny Ward ‘s return following an imposing campaign with Huddersfield Town under David Wagner and leading the Terriers to earn a promotion by defeating favourites Reading FC in the playoff final where he pulled off a massive save in the tie-breaker. Wagner, however, asked for another season-long loan deal which was surprisingly turned down by Jurgen Klopp who decided to have three quality keepers ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Mignolet, as expected, started as first-choice this season but was dropped for the fixture against Arsenal. Karius was handed a start that left the experienced Belgian in a bombshell. Karius, meanwhile, looked pretty nervy as he himself created a couple of unnecessary uncomforting occasions which could have troubled his side against the flow of the game.
Although the 24-year-old custodian kept a cleansheet against the Gunners, the gaffer preffered Mignolet once more against Manchester City in one of the most competitive fixtures in the Premier League. It wouldn’t be fair to judge Mignolet’s performance against Manchester City based on the scoreline but he could have done better than what he did.
However, he has improved massively since being left out in the middle of the previous campaign and has started showing his responsibilities as a senior keeper, which the Reds were lacking since Pepe Reina’s egress.
Mignolet, if maintains his consistency, is expected to be preferred in Premier League games whereas Karius might feature in the Champions League fixtures. Danny Ward, the 24-year-old Welshman, will be playing his part in the cup games.