Loris Karius

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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.

Liverpool-Spurs draw ends in… (We need a bigger word than controversy)

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  • Salah scores very early
  • Wanyama levels with outrageous hit
  • Kane misses questionably-awarded PK
  • Salah dribble wizardry gives LFC lead
  • Kane makes questionably-awarded PK for 100th PL goal

Harry Kane scored a stoppage time penalty after Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool a stoppage time lead as Tottenham Hotspur twice came back in a 2-2 Sunday draw at Anfield which handles the terms controversial and thrilling with kids gloves.

[ MORE: Klopp’s furious reaction ]

Kane had an early penalty saved by Loris Karius, and both opportunities were both delayed as referee Jon Moss and his linesman debated the awards.

Victor Wanyama‘s 80th minute hammer made it 1-1 after Salah scored off an Eric Dier giveaway in the first three minutes.

Liverpool moves third with the point, two points ahead of fifth place Spurs.

Kane’s goal was his 100th in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A horrible giveaway from Eric Dier resembled a perfect through ball for Salah. At this point, a giveaway to anyone else shy of Lionel Messi would feel better, and Salah curled around Hugo Lloris to make it 1-0 in the third minute.

Spurs seemed shaky until the quarter-hour mark, and Virgil Van Dijk made a nice block on Heung-Min Son to keep it 1-0.

James Milner hit a gorgeous shot across goal that was only just deflected by a sliding Davinson Sanchez.

Loris Karius made a nice stop on Mousa Dembele before half, and would neat to repeat the feat on Son after the break.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Christian Eriksen was lively as the second half progressed with Spurs looking the better for the next goal, though Harry Kane and Co. were offside on a number of occasions.

Dele Alli was booked for a dive in the 69th minute.

Liverpool stayed resolute until Emre Can couldn’t get all of his clearance effort, spinning the ball onto the path of Wanyama for an outrageous strike that made it 1-1.

An offside Kane drew a penalty kick following a Liverpool error leading to the striker leaping over a desperate Karius.

After review, the ruling was upheld. Studies have shown delays affect the shooter more than the keeper, and Karius saved Kane’s attempt before the rebound was sliced high and wide.

It was far from over, as Salah’s season-long wizardry continued with a mazy dribble that included an ankle-breaking step past Jan Vertonghen before popping the ball over Lloris.

And then a penalty kick was given against Van Dijk by the linesman. Erik Lamela leapt in front of Van Dijk’s clearing attempt to draw the PK, but only moments after the Reds finished their clearance.

Kane didn’t miss this time.

Take it away with some top class Super Bowl banter, Men in Blazers:

Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Liverpool

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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  • Reds clobbered Swans on Boxing Day
  • Swans six points adrift
  • Reds go third with three-goal win
  • Liverpool leads all-time 23W-8D-11L

Liverpool looks to avoid a letdown when it visits Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Swansea City has managed a win over the Reds in each of the previous two seasons, but was simply crushed by Jurgen Klopp‘s men in a 5-0 defeat at Anfield last month.

WATCH ON NBCSN AND ONLINE HERE AT 3 P.M. ET

The hosts badly need to pick up points, though few expect them to do so on Monday. Skeptics, however, will note that Liverpool under Klopp has been giants against the top teams and often lackluster against the other sides.

What they’re saying

Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal on springing an upset“I would prefer to be Goliath, I would rather be in his position. But during my career most of the time has been spent in the position of David, and we have been able to do some surprises as David. We have done it often, we are working to make more of them. I was kind of the Goliath when I was with Besiktas and Sporting Lisbon, but during those moments Goliath was a little ill.”

Liverpool’s Klopp on goalkeeper Loris KariusMy favourite solution, always, is that we do it with our boys. They step up, they deliver, they improve. The problem they have is that everyone is watching them (through a magnifying glass) and saying ‘still not good enough!’ I will only mention one name. Everyone talks about him with us and that is Butland. I only saw the game (against Manchester United). Fantastic goalkeeper but was he perfect? No. He wasn’t in that game. But everyone says ‘still better than our boys!'”

Prediction

It’s hard to see this going in Swans favor at all, though we’ll peg them to keep it close on the score board: 2-0 to Liverpool.

Klopp on switching keepers (again): “Life is not always the nicest”

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp explained his decision to drop oft-criticized keeper Loris Karius for Wednesday’s blowout of Middlesbrough.

Klopp went back to Simon Mignolet after spending the past few days defending the performances of Karius.

[ RECAP – Boro 0-3 Liverpool ]

So why the change of heart? Was it just gamesmanship?

From the BBC:

“Life is not always the nicest but these are my boys and for me it is important to push them and protect them and sometimes I have to make decisions I don’t like. I know how strong Loris is, but he couldn’t show it in the last few games.

“Judging him in this moment makes no sense. Simon Mignolet is on the bench and we have to have competition. It’s all about Liverpool. The boys have good character. Karius is still a great keeper.”

There’s something to be said for having a clear No. 1, but if strong clubs can manage rotating keepers throughout competition then this may not be a huge problem for Liverpool. What do you think?

Follow @NicholasMendola

Klopp backs Karius, drills Neville brothers for broadcast bias

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Jurgen Klopp continues to stand-by starting goalkeeper Loris Karius.

If he can take a shot at rivals in the process, all the better.

Former Manchester United players turned pundits Gary and Phil Neville criticized embattled Reds netminder Karius after another tough match between the sticks.

[ MORE: Breaking down UCL, Europa draws ]

Klopp spoke up on Monday, eviscerating the brothers for bias and questioning why anyone values their opinion on players after highly-publicized struggles leading Valencia last season.

From The Liverpool Echo:

“But that makes the things he says not more sense. He showed that he struggled with the job to judge players. Why do we let them talk about players on television? I wouldn’t but the only thing I can do is I don’t listen to them.

“I’m pretty sure Carra doesn’t speak too positively about Man United players. So obviously the Neville brothers don’t like Liverpool but I’ve no problem. If they could cause bigger problems than they already have I think they try it.

“Now you have your headline! Welcome!”

Phil Neville also played for Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton, so it’s a bit of a double dig for Reds’ fans. In any event, Klopp offered “straight fire” here, and the Nevilles might not want to pick up the mic while it’s still hot.

Liverpool visits Middlesbrough on Wednesday before the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park. That’s a week from today.

Follow @NicholasMendola