With '2 strong goalies', Reds don't need Hart

Liverpool's Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has been in excellent form but faces competition from German Loris Karius. Nevertheless, manager Jurgen Klopp considers them both custodians of the highest quality.
Liverpool's Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has been in excellent form but faces competition from German Loris Karius. Nevertheless, manager Jurgen Klopp considers them both custodians of the highest quality.PHOTO: REUTERS

Klopp happy with Mignolet and Karius but has backline woes for Palace game

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a summer move for Joe Hart and said he is content with the goalkeeping options at Anfield.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with the England international who is on loan at Torino, having lost his Manchester City place under Pep Guardiola.

While Belgian Simon Mignolet has been in impressive form during the Reds' pursuit of Champions League qualification, his long-term hold on the No. 1 spot remains uncertain and Loris Karius is vying for the position.

Klopp confirmed the 23-year-old German was his first choice earlier in the season only to drop the former Mainz goalkeeper after 10 Premier League appearances.

The Liverpool manager said Hart is not an upgrade on his senior goalkeepers and will not be heading to Anfield this summer.

He said: "You ask about goalkeepers but you don't say the name. Is it about Joe Hart? We don't usually talk about these sort of things but in this particular case I think we can. He is a fantastic goalkeeper, the goalkeeper of the English national team, highest quality, but we have highest-quality goalkeepers.

"It is not for us in this moment and hopefully not in the future -not because of Joe but because we already have two strong goalkeepers.

"Danny Ward is at Huddersfield and playing a brilliant season. He is our player so we will bring him back so there is competition. The young ones have made really big steps, Caoimhin Kelleher and Kamil Grabara, and that is really good.

"I understand the question but I cannot give the answer probably a few people want, but we think about it all the time."

Liverpool have several defensive problems for Sunday's home Premier League game against Crystal Palace, with defenders Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan and Lucas Leiva unable to train this week owing to injuries.

Matip and Lucas have muscle issues, while Klavan has a slight medial ligament problem but Joe Gomez is in contention for his first league appearance of the season.

Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson will also miss the game and Klopp has cast doubt over the captain's availability for the remainder of the season. Henderson has been out since Feb 11 with a foot injury and unlike Lallana, who is expected to return to full training next week, is not close to a return.

Asked whether the Englishman could miss the rest of the campaign, the German said: "I don't know. We will have to see. He cannot really train so we have to wait for when he can."

Liverpool are third in the Premier League on 66 points, having won five of their last seven games, and have lost just once in 16 games at Anfield all season.

But Klopp believes Sam Allardyce's team, who are not yet safe from relegation, are capable of posing an aerial threat for his defence, with former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke leading the line for the visitors.

"When the ball is in the air, Christian is a major threat. We felt it a lot of times here," he said. "If we let them cross 50 balls, it's pretty likely he will have some dangerous headers.

"But, if you only concentrate on Benteke, you have (Wilfried) Zaha and (Andros) Townsend around him. That is one of the best offensive lines in the Premier League."

Palace, who are 15th, have won five of their last seven games to move seven points clear of the relegation zone with six games to play.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'With '2 strong goalies', Reds don't need Hart'. Print Edition | Subscribe