‘This team will be a bit different next season, it is clear. We will do something with transfers’ – Jurgen Klopp after the Europa League final 18/05/2016
It’s Wednesday 18th May and, at a sold out St. Jakob’s Park in Basel, the half-time whilst has just blown. Liverpool fans are in high spirits as a their “rampant reds” were dominating Sevilla all over the pitch. Daniel Sturridge’s sublime finish with the outside of his boot had given us a 1-0 lead but, in truth, it should have been more. If it had, this wonderful European story may have provided us with a different ending. We could have been watching Henderson and Milner lift yet another European trophy for the reds.
Unfortunately it only took 17 second-half seconds for our possible dream-finish to turn into a nightmare. The fight that got us past Dortmund, the aggression that saw us decimate Villareal was alarmingly absent. The rest, as they say, is history. A disappointing end to an underwhelming season. Plenty of food for thought though as we enter our first summer of Klopp.
In this first part I will look at our Goalkeepers, asking the question of whether or not they should – or will – still be here next season. As Loris Karius has been strongly linked with us in a £4.7million deal, I shall include him as well.
Mignolet, our current #1, has failed to win over the majority of fans since his move from Sunderland in the summer of 2013. Fans were left bemused when he was handed a new 5year deal this season and it is not hard to see why.
Signed to replace the waning powers of the much-loved Pepe Reina, big things were expected of Mignolet upon arrival, with Brendan Rodgers splashing £9million on him. A tidy sum for a ‘keeper, but one deemed good-value for money due to his performances over the previous two years. Considering Lloris signed for Spurs for a similar sum the previous year and their career trajectories since, you have to question the judgement behind it.
He appears to leave his defence bereft of confidence with his problems at adequately dealing with crosses acknowledged by pretty much everyone who has watched him play. His kicking is often wayward and he concedes far too many soft goals, especially at his near-post. Despite this, he is often able to make superb reaction saves and many may argue that his poor development could be down to a lack of real competition rather than anything else. Still, with the emergence of Ward and the likely incoming of Karius, Mignolet has a huge job on his hands to ensure he has a future.
With Ward likely to go out on loan, I can’t see Mignolet being moved on this summer as Karius – if he arrives as expected – will need time to settle. The summer of 2017 may end with a different result though for the Beglian.
Arriving on a bosman from Bolton last summer, his arrival was confusing, with many fans left wondering about whether or not he was actually an upgrade on our previous #2 Brad Jones. A string of strong performances and penalty heroics in the League Cup, coupled with Mignolet’s questionable form, led to many clamouring for him to start in the league. When his chance arrived he failed to grasp it with both hands, just like he failed to grasp the ball, as Liverpool suffered a humbling at the hands of Watford. Three weeks later, Danny Ward had been re-called from a loan spell at Aberdeen and only an injury to the Welsh ‘keeper prior to the WBA game meant that Bogdan featured for the first team again.
The writing was on the wall the moment he first dropped the ball vs. Watford. After signing on a bosman, I doubt the club will be too fussed about getting any fee and he should be let go to the first club that registers solid interest.
Bogdan’s blunder and a lack of any other options meant that Danny Ward’s promising season-long loan at Aberdeen was cut short, which is a shame considering many were singing his praises and rating him as one of the best in the Scotland’s premier league. Denied what would have been a well-earned clean sheet in his début, it’s his inexperience that is hindering him right now.
Strong rumours of a loan transfer to Huddersfield Town are doing the rounds at the moment, but is a move to a team who finished 19th in the Championship really what is best for him? My preference would be for him to get some Premier League experience under his belt, but is there anyone who would take a temporary #1? Either way, his short-term future lies away from Anfield. It will be interesting to see how he develops.
I’ll put my hands up, I don’t know much about Fulton other than that he has come through the academy and has spent the last season out on loan.
Another season on loan awaits, with Fulton himself having expressed a desire to remain with Portsmouth temporarily. However, with Mignolet, Ward and (possibly) Karius above him in the pecking order, I won’t be surprised if a permanent move away from the club materialises sooner rather than later.
Again, like with Fulton I don’t know much. What I do know is that he is 23 in November and spent last season on loan with Swindon.
I don’t expect Vigouroux to remain a Liverpool player past this summer. It would be best for all parties that he moves on.
The “Miracle of Mainz” is the name on every Liverpool fans lips at the moment. A Germany U21 international and another from the never-ending production line of extremely talented German goalkeepers, Karius is believed to be joining Liverpool’s ranks before the month is out in a £4.7million deal after becoming Klopp’s primary transfer target. Regarded as one of the top young goalkeepers in the Bundesliga with almost a century of appearances already, he will be expected to come in and challenge Mignolet for the #1 spot.
As a goalkeeper coming to a new club and a new league, there is very little protection. However, if he is given time to find his feet and transitioned into the first team properly, then we may have seen the last of Mignolet between the sticks – and I imagine quite a few fans will be relieved by that!
My next post will look at our defenders. Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below!