A Goalkeeper Crisis?

In the aftermath of the 4:3 victory over league leaders Manchester City on Sunday 13th February in which City had four shots on target and three goals scored, Carragher and Souness were damming in their assessment of our current goalkeeper dilemma. “They’re not great at soaking up pressure”. “Neither of these guys go to any of the other top six teams and replace their goalkeepers. If you’re going to win trophies you need a top goalkeeper.” Damning words indeed.

For a club with our history and our size and pedigree, the current goalkeeper crisis is completely unacceptable. Klopp, literally, it seems is flipping a coin prior to every game to see who is playing between the posts. In June 2013, Simon Mignolet signed with Liverpool for a reported fee of £9 million and in 2016 the 6ft 2in, Loris Karius signed from German Bundesliga club Mainz for a fee of £4.7 million on a five-year deal. He asked for and was given the number 1 jersey and stated he was here to be the number one choice goalkeeper. So that’s what, £13.7 million for two goalkeepers? The Manchester City goalkeeper, Emerson cost £34.7 million. Yes, this is a steep example as goalkeepers used cost much much less until recently. You’re looking at spending £20 million on a top class keeper today, add on an extra £10 million because we are Liverpool and we’re desperate and we’re loaded after the Coutinho sale. So that’s the cost part of what we have spent and what we are required to spend done. Now for the past and present part.

Former Liverpool goalkeepers like Ray Clemence and Bruce Grobbelaar have achieved legendary status, others like Polish keeper Jerzy Durdek became a cult hero after Istanbul 2005 actually imitating Grobbelarr in the penalty shootout. The “wobbly knees” tactic that was used by Bruce Grobbelaar in the 1984 European Cup Final v AS Roma which was played in Romas’s stadium, was used again to great effect by Dudek v AC Milan as Liverpool clinched a fifth European crown. Pepe Renia was another fans favorite having joined from Villarreal in 2005. We’ve had our fair share of mediocre keepers too, Sander Westerveld and Brad Jones are two that spring to mind.

We’re not the only club to have dodgy goalies, as I gleefully point out two from Manchester United. Massimo Taibi signed in 1999 made four appearances conceded 11 goals. Out the door again straight away! Mark Bosnich made 35 appearances then was out the door to Chelsea where he was banned for 9 months for testing positive for cocaine. The point is that these keepers weren’t working out and were rapidly sent packing with ruthless speed. It’s something we haven’t done which most other clubs would have I mean a top goalkeeper is worth at least 12 points a season easily with the number of vital saves he would make. Why are we hanging on to two keepers with a combined value of under £14 million and not trying to bring in one that may well cost £20 million plus but also with a potential 12 points. It’s a no brainer.

There is growing unrest coming from fans too on the goalkeepers coach at the club, John Achertberg. The fans claiming he’s not getting the best nor improving our current goalkeepers. Perhaps this needs to be looked into too and a change required in the back room staff there? Small little things like this seem to make a difference. There was a bit in the papers in 2016 about a new head of nutrition been brought in and also a head of fitness guy Andreas Kornmayer both from Bayern Munich. Carlos Ancelotti then manager at Munich was reportedly furious that Liverpool had snatched him from under his nose. Klopp regarded them as two of his biggest signings that Summer. Football has changed so much that science and nutrition and fitness analysis is a vital cog in the wheel of success. So therefore seems logical that a goalkeepers coach’s role should be reviewed a bit more on his effectiveness.

We can’t expect to challenge for major honors if we buy cheap and expect the back room staff to create world-class keepers.

‘Wanted, good goalie. Must have clean sheets. Gloves will be provided. Must be fairly handy and knows way round the penalty box.’ Ok we’re not that desperate that we’ll advertise for a goalie in local papers. But we can’t continue to paper over the cracks.

No other major club would leave this crisis drag on as long as it has. It’s quite baffling Klopp surely knows both are not up to the Liverpool standards and time after time simple mistakes are made in matches. The fans are growing restless and enough is enough. So to the bit about the future.

Two names crop up, Jan Oblak and Alisson Becker. The first name is a Slovenia international playing for Atletico Madrid, aged 25 and valued at *cough* £90 million, which in this writer’s opinion, “ain’t gonna happen.” The second name is Brazilian international keeper also 25, playing for Roma with a valuation of, erm, £40 million or thereabouts. Pass the Valium. We may have no choice but to end up as the club who’ll actually break the world transfer record for a goalkeeper.

Robin McNamara

Former journalist Insight Magazine Dublin & published poet. Currently work at Cartamundi Ireland. Liverpool fan since I was 10. Slowly embracing blogging or whatever this is.⚽️👍🏼✨

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