Ignore the naysayers, Klopp tells under-fire goalie Karius

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp with Loris Karius at the end of the football match between Liverpool and Manchester United.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp with Loris Karius at the end of the football match between Liverpool and Manchester United. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius to "close his ears" to criticism ahead of today's English Premier League clash with West Ham.

Bournemouth clinched a dramatic 4-3 victory over Liverpool last weekend, after Karius fumbled a shot from Steve Cook in stoppage time which allowed Nathan Ake to bundle the ball into the net.

The German, who joined Liverpool from Bundesliga outfit Mainz in May, displaced Simon Mignolet as Klopp's first choice and is set to keep his place at Anfield this weekend despite the costly mistake.

"I heard the criticism was very harsh. When we analysed the game I found eight players who could have defended the goal before Loris was involved," the Liverpool manager said.

"He made a mistake too. Even the best goalkeepers in the world still make mistakes. We know we have to deal with pressure.

"There is no perfect recipe for development but 'close your ears' helps a lot. I am quite good at this actually. Hopefully he can adapt to my skills."

Liverpool are boosted by the return of centre-back Joel Matip, who missed the defeat by Bournemouth with an ankle injury. But Daniel Sturridge will miss the fixture against the Hammers after he was ruled out of Liverpool's next two matches with a calf injury.

West Ham have been linked with a move for Sturridge in the January transfer window but Hammers manager Slaven Bilic appeared to cool speculation by raising doubts about the England striker's injury record.

"He's one of the biggest talents, he's a great player," said the Croat. "The talent is there, the touch, the finishing, everything is great.

"Even last year when every time he was not available and his name was in the papers, all the clubs were thinking about Sturridge because he is that kind of player. But 50 times in five years, is that enough?" Bilic questioned, referring to the 27-year-old's appearance record.

Yet he is mindful that his team need to improve in front of goal. West Ham are 17th in the Premier League, having scored just 15 goals in 14 matches so far.

"The strikers didn't score enough goals or as many as we expected but it is not only down to them," he said. "Although it is the strikers' job to score goals, it is also the responsibility of the whole team."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

LIVERPOOL V WEST HAM

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'Ignore the naysayers, Klopp tells under-fire goalie Karius'. Print Edition | Subscribe