James Ward-Prowse

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Could Loris Karius really be the answer for Liverpool’s goalkeeping woes?

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The general consensus has been that while Liverpool continues to improve, the goalkeeping situation at the club has become untenable, and that the Reds will need to move on from Simon Mignolet in the summer.

With names like Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, PSG’s Kevin Trapp, Stoke City’s Jack Butland, and Samir Handanovic all thrown around, the seat between the sticks at Anfield has been heating up.

Loris Karius has other ideas.

[ MORE: Chelsea puts West Brom to bed 3-0 ]

Signed for just $8 million in the summer of 2016, the 24-year-old German was thought of largely as a backup to Mignolet, and it’s been that way until just a few weeks ago. Having snatched the starting job from his Belgian counterpart after solid performances against Leicester City and Manchester City, Karius suddenly has a chance to not just lead Liverpool down the stretch run of a promising season, but potentially save the club millions of dollars this summer.

But could Karius really be the long-term option for Liverpool in goal? The sample size is small, but he’s showing promise the last few weeks.

The 2-0 win over Southampton was one of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt.

His recognition to notice danger before the chance was truly created allowed him to charge strongly off his line and stop a shot by Pierre-Emile Hojberg. He initially came to collect a cross by Dusan Tadic, but once it was clear he wouldn’t reach it, instead of finding himself caught in no-man’s land, he again recognized a play before it happened and back-tracked in time to acrobatically stop James Ward-Prowse‘s header.

And finally, Karius is even involved in the build-up to Liverpool’s first goal, correctly finding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in acres of space on the counter.

Against Tottenham, Karius came off his line to smother a big chance from Heung-Min Son with the Liverpool defense out of sorts, charging down the striker while stopping himself just short as to not concede a penalty. Karius’s ability to come off his line with precision will make Liverpool fans beam with glee, as Mignolet struggled mightily with that aspect of his game.

Karius has been a significant improvement over Simon Mignolet in general this season, with a significant advantage in his WhoScored rating (6.72 for Karius vs. 6.49 for Mignolet in Premier League play), while he also owns a far superior Squawka.com rating for the season (101.89 for Karius vs. 29.07 for Mignolet) thanks in large part to a better saves per goal tally (1.43 for Karius, 1.21 for Mignolet). He’s also not made a defensive error yet this season, according to Squawka, while Mignolet wrapped up three. The distribution numbers still favors Mignolet, but Karius has been able to have an effect up front in that department despite not having the consistency.

However, not all is where it needs to be. Against Manchester City, for example, Leroy Sane beat Karius at his near post from a tight angle with a shot a top goalkeeper should be saving.

Against Spurs, Karius did concede a penalty for coming out of net and fouling Harry Kane, but it was hard to blame the keeper after a laughable mis-kick from Dejan Lovren left him completely exposed and with few options.

The German will get plenty of chances to prove his worth, as Jurgen Klopp said he will likely stick with Karius in goal for Champions League play as well, giving him ample time to both impress and improve, or prove it’s all a fad.

Is Karius suddenly a hidden gem in the process of revealing itself to the Premier League and the world? Or is this a flash in the pan? If his form continues, will it be enough to allow Liverpool to focus its resources elsewhere this summer, or will they still feel compelled to reach into the coffers to improve at the position? It all remains to be seen, but the last few weeks have complicated the situation, if nothing else.

Southampton 0-2 Liverpool: Salah, Firmino thrill

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  • Reds go third
  • Salah, Firmino each w/ goal, assist
  • Saints sink 18th

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah assisted on each other’s goals as Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The Reds are two points behind Manchester United for second in the Premier League, while Saints dip into the drop zone with 26 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool was ahead after six minutes, with Mohamed Salah receiving the luxury of a wide open Sadio Mane and Firmino. He chose the latter, and the latter chose to finish beyond the reach of Alex McCarthy. 1-0, Reds.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a shot deflected toward a diving McCarthy moments later.

Saints were on the verge of equalizing when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg trapped a diagonal ball in the 18, but Loris Karius came charging to make a fine save.

James Ward-Prowse swept a cross to the penalty spot, where Guido Carrillo forced a save out of Karius with a header. Moments later, Dusan Tadic sent one to Ward-Prowse, whose header was palmed out for a corner by Karius.

Saints were on the front foot for the remainder of the half, that is excepting Liverpool’s crucial second goal. Salah and Firmino worked a 1-2 which included a back heel from the Brazilian. 2-0, 42′.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ward-Prowse hit a hard free kick to the front post, and Hoedt couldn’t quite turn it past Karius as the match remained 2-0 in the 60th minute.

Salah collected a Firmino rebound off a Mane-inspired combination, but saw a rare miss hit the outside of the side netting.

Substitute Adam Lallana nearly found the side panel against his old team, but shot wide of the far post.

PL roundup: Arsenal impress at Emirates; Citizens drop points

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Get caught up on all seven of Saturday’s Premier League fixtures…

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Arsenal 5-1 EvertonFULL RECAP

The Toffees never looked like they were in the match, with Arsene Wenger‘s side coming out firing from the opening kick off. A hat-trick from Aaron Ramsey and Lauren Koscielny’s sliding finish had the Gunners flying high on Saturday, before new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened his account for the club (although he was really offside). Everton found its consolation through Dominic Calvert-Lewin‘s close-range header. The win puts Arsenal within three points of Tottenham for fifth place.

Manchester United 2-0 Huddersfield Town — FULL RECAP

Alexis Sanchez bagged his first goal for the Red Devils, while Romelu Lukaku also found the back of the net. Jose Mourinho’s side now sit 13 points behind league leaders Manchester City, who dropped two points on the day. Meanwhile, the Terriers have now gone eight straight PL matches without a victory, which leaves the side in the bottom three.

Burnley 1-1 Manchester City — FULL RECAP

The Clarets became the fourth PL side to take points off of Man City this season, although Pep Guardiola‘s group remain 16 points clear of second place following the draw. Johann Berg Gudmundsson played hero for the home side in the final minutes, after cancelling out Danilo‘s stunning finish earlier in the match.

Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke City — FULL RECAP

Xherdan Shaqiri kicked off the scoring for a desperate Stoke side, but it was Bournemouth that responded positively and found a way back. The Cherries moved into ninth place with its comeback victory at the Vitality Stadium behind Lys Mousset and Joshua King finishes. The defeat for Stoke leaves Paul Lambert‘s side in 18th place.

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Southampton — FULL RECAP

In what proved to easily be the most exciting match of the day, the Saints picked up their first PL victory in 13 rounds of play. Mario Lemina‘s brilliant strike highlighted the outburst from Southampton’s attack, while goals from Jack Stephens and James Ward-Prowse also gave the visitors a boost. Southampton sits two points clear of the bottom three, while West Brom remains bottom in England.

Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 West Ham United — FULL RECAP

Goals from Glenn Murray, Jose Izquierdo and Pascal Gross gave the Seagulls a much-needed lift in the relegation battle, with Brighton moving up to 13th place. Meanwhile, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s beauty of a finish on the half-hour mark gave the Hammers a temporary moment of relief, but it was short-lived for the visiting side.

Leicester City 1-1 Swansea City — FULL RECAP

Jamie Vardy‘s 11th goal of the season wasn’t enough to secure all three points for Leicester, who picked up their 35th point. The draw was quite important to Swansea though, with the point picked up lifting the Swans out of the relegation zone despite being level on points with Stoke and Huddersfield.

West Brom 2-3 Southampton: Relegation scrap delivers drama

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  • First win in 13 PL games for Saints
  • West Brom slip to 20th place
  • Stephens scores for third-straight game

Southampton edged past West Bromwich Albion 3-2 in a classic relegation battle at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

On an emotional day for West Bromas they paid their respects to the late Cyrille Regis before the game, the home side took the lead early on as Ahmed Hegazi headed home. Yet Saints came roaring back as they scored twice in quick succession just before half time with a stunner from Mario Lemina and then Jack Stephens headed home.

James Ward-Prowse‘s free kick proved to be the pivotal goal as Salomon Rondon pulled a goal back late on but West Brom couldn’t draw level.

With the win, their first since November 26, Saints moved on to 26 points and up to 14th place, while West Brom slip to 20th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

West Brom had the perfect start as a corner from the right found Hegazi and he towered about Jack Stephens to head home the opener.

Saints responded well to going behind as Sofiane Boufal flashed a shot just wide of the post. Guido Carrillo then scuffed an effort wide for the visitors. Carrillo then nodded wide from Lemina’s cross and Saints continued to press with a bad mistake letting in Dusan Tadic but his deflected shot looped onto the top of the net.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

At the other end Daniel Sturridge smashed an effort across goal which just flew wide of the far post. Then, the game swung in Saints’ favor.

Ben Foster denied Guido Carrillo with a magnificent save but from the resulting corner the ball found Lemina over 25 yards out and the Gabonese midfielder drilled an unstoppable effort into the top corner to level things up.

Two minutes later James Ward-Prowse’s corner was flicked into the far corner by Stephens with the center back scoring for the third time this week after previously not netting in his first 37 games for Saints. What a turnaround at half time as Saints led 2-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Chris Brunt went close from a free kick for West Brom as he played the ball under the wall from the edge of the box but it clipped someone on the way through and went out from a corner.

Tadic went close to wrapping the game up for Saints as a long ball forward was misjudged but West Brom cleared.

Wesley Hoedt then strode forward and won a free kick on the edge of the box and after a slight disagreement between Boufal and his teammates, Ward-Prowse stepped up and put the free kick into the bottom corner and past Foster to make it 3-1 to Saints.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jay Rodriguez and Oliver Burke came on for Sturridge and Claudio Yacob to try and get West Brom back in the game but Saints should have extended their lead with Tadic not getting enough on his cross for Carrillo.

Rondon headed home 18 minutes from time to make it 2-3 and set up a tight finish. Jay Rodriguez went down in the box under a challenge from Bertrand as West Brom thought they should have a penalty, while at the other end Shane Long should have made it 4-2 but headed wide.

Saints held on, just, for their first win since November to breath new life into their season.

Spurs, Saints play to stalemate

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  • Bertrand forces Spurs own goal
  • Kane levels before halftime
  • Spurs stay fifth
  • Saints one point back of safety

Harry Kane made amends for a Davinson Sanchez own goal as Tottenham Hotspur drew Southampton 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Southampton is now winless in 11 Premier League matches, while Spurs are unbeaten in six.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs entered the game with Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris out through sickness and several more not at 100 percent, and Sanchez was surely feeling ill when his sliding attempt to block a Ryan Bertrand cross beat his own keeper to the inside post.

It was 1-1 within moments, as Kane rose over Manolo Gabbiadini after losing mark Jack Stephens on a corner kick.

James Ward-Prowse was fortunate to avoid a card when he kicked out at Jan Vertonghen following a slide tackle from the Spurs center back.

Stephens just missed making up for his error when he zipped onto Ward-Prowse’s free kick but headed just wide of the far upper 90.

Mario Lemina forced Vorm into a save after a 41st minute set-up by Gabbiadini.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ward-Prowse tried his luck from 25 yards to start the second half, but Vorm saw the ball the whole way into his arms.

Spurs grew into the second half, and Dele Alli lashed wide of the near post in the 65th minute. Vertonghen buzzed the tower with a left-footed shot five minutes later.

Would anything give as the match progressed, with Spurs inserting Erik Lamela and Saints opting for Sofiane Boufal and 17-year-old debutant Michael Obafemi?

Good work from Kane and Sissoko ended with an on-the-doorstep Lamela shooting off a Saints defender and out, poorly adjudged to be a goal kick.

Obafemi misjudged a chance to redirect a cross past Vorm in the 87th minute, and Cedric ventured a laser wide of the goal as Saints looked for a winner. Boufal was then blocked by Sanchez after taking a touch too much in the box.

Kane had late opportunity for Spurs, but dragged his shot or pass through the six without a receiver.