The biggest shock on Wednesday night was the announcement Jurgen Klopp had selected Simon Mignolet ahead of Loris Karius. Thankfully Klopp was rewarded with a clean sheet as Liverpool won 3-0 at Middlesbrough.
The 23-year-old summer signing has made a few high-profile errors against Bournemouth and West Ham. Klopp admits Karius was not happy after losing his place in Liverpool’s goal to Simon Mignolet, saying: “It’s not that he immediately wanted a hug.”
Klopp has been involved in a very public discussion with Gary and Phil Neville over their criticism of his keeper. Despite defending him in his pre-match press conference, Mignolet was recalled to the line-up to start a league game for the first time since the 2-1 win over Chelsea in September.
Klopp was insistent his decision did not reflect a desire to satiate the public. “I’m not interested in public pressure but I’m interested in the boy and there’s no reason to push him through this situation.”
Mignolet kept a clean sheet at the Riverside and Klopp conceded afterwards Karius was, as expected, not initially pleased at receiving the news.
“Not that much, of course, how you can imagine,” Klopp said. “It’s not that he immediately wanted a hug but it’s a normal decision, in football it’s like this when you’re at the right club.”
“Even when you’re not in the best moment and step aside, train hard, improve, get back to your best shape and we’ll see what happens.”
“(It’s) all ok, but of course, for the player in the first moment, it was not the best moment in life.”
Karius has a bright future
Klopp does, however, still see a bright future for the youngster at Anfield, intimating he has made the change to protect his compatriot.
“The situation is LFC is a long-term project,” he explained. “We really want to improve the club, we know we have to be successful as soon as possible, but on the other hand we all feel comfortable in a situation with each other, the goalkeeper included, and I know how strong Loris Karius is.
“Unfortunately he couldn’t show it in the last one, two, three games, I’m not sure, that’s not important.
“Everyone thinks one little mistake, which can happen to any goalkeeper in the world, and I say ‘ok, final judgement, don’t want to see him anymore’ but there’s no reason, especially when you have a goalkeeper like Simon Mignolet in training, on the bench, outstanding character, great footballer, really good goalkeeper, who played really good at the beginning of the season.
“No reason to push Loris through, that’s why we made this change early, and that’s all. Nothing else. We are fine, good.”
But despite the Reds boss revealing there is no timescale on a potential return between the sticks for the young German goalkeeper, he remains optimistic about his future at the club. “No, that’s not how football works. Now it’s Simon’s chance.
“I’m really happy with our goalkeeper situation, we have two really, really good goalkeepers, very experienced Alex Manninger who is a wonderful person, and we have three outstanding young keepers.
“The goalkeeping situation at Liverpool is really good. That’s why I said there’s no reason to push one through, we want to develop the players, and we don’t want to convince people that he’s not that bad or whatever, we are fine with our boys.
“Loris is still very young, he’s a big goalkeeping talent and everything will be good in the end but there’s no time for when he’ll be back.”