No time frame for Karius' return

Adam Lallana rounding off a great night by scoring his second goal to wrap up Liverpool's 3-0 win against Middlesbrough. He had a hand in the other goal too, teeing up Divock Origi.
Adam Lallana rounding off a great night by scoring his second goal to wrap up Liverpool's 3-0 win against Middlesbrough. He had a hand in the other goal too, teeing up Divock Origi.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has offered Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius no guarantee of a recall, after dropping the error-prone German for his side's 3-0 win against Middlesbrough on Wednesday.

The Liverpool manager admitted it was difficult telling the 23-year-old that he had been benched, in favour of Belgium international Simon Mignolet, for the comprehensive victory at the Riverside Stadium that pushed the Anfield side up to second in the Premier League.

Karius paid the price for conceding six goals in two games as Liverpool dropped five points against Bournemouth and West Ham to dent their title hopes.

They now trail leaders Chelsea by six points after climbing above Arsenal on goals scored, and Klopp said: "Loris is not that fine (about being dropped) but it's a normal decision in football.

"When you're not at the best moment, you step aside, train hard and see what happens."

Asked to put a timeframe on the likely first-team absence of the summer signing from Mainz, Klopp said: "That's not how football works. I'm really happy with our goalkeeper situation, but there's no reason to push one through, we want to develop the players.

"Loris is still very young, he's a big talent but there's no time for when he will be back."

Klopp denied he had bowed to pundit pressure in the wake of criticism from former Manchester United defenders Phil and Gary Neville, who had both faulted the 'keeper in recent weeks.

"Liverpool FC is a long-term project. We know we have to be as successful as soon as possible and I'm not interested in public pressure but I didn't want to put Loris through it," the German said.

Mignolet can expect to keep his place after a gruelling run of five games in 19 days got off to the best possible start with Liverpool's first win at the Riverside Stadium for more than 14 years.

Klopp said: "The performance was really good... We could have scored more but it was a really good display."

Adam Lallana grabbed most of the plaudits, as the England midfielder scored twice and set up the second goal for Divock Origi, who found the net for the fifth consecutive game.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2016, with the headline 'No time frame for Karius' return'. Print Edition | Subscribe