Klopp gives Karius No. 1 backing, with glove

Loris Karius, 24, arguably delivered his best display for Liverpool in the 2-0 win at Southampton on Feb 11, making two excellent saves in the first half and generally looking assured.
Loris Karius, 24, arguably delivered his best display for Liverpool in the 2-0 win at Southampton on Feb 11, making two excellent saves in the first half and generally looking assured.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has cast further doubt on Simon Mignolet's future at Liverpool by suggesting the Belgian will not be selected for Liverpool's Champions League match away at Porto today.

Mignolet has shared goalkeeper duties with Loris Karius this season, with the former having been first choice in the Premier League and the latter chosen to start in the Champions League.

But Klopp confirmed on Jan 19, and following Liverpool's 4-3 victory over Manchester City, that the German would now be his preferred No. 1. Karius started the City game and has played in Liverpool's four league games since.

Mignolet has featured in that time, playing in the 3-2 FA Cup defeat by West Bromwich Albion, and the presumption was that he had become Liverpool's "Cup goalkeeper" and would therefore start their last-16 first leg at Estadio do Dragao today.

"To be honest I have not made the final decision but it is not the same situation as it was," Klopp said when asked which goalkeeper he would pick to face Porto.

"A good one will play. But I haven't made the decision so far."

The manager's remarks regarding a change of "situation" indicates he has abandoned his policy of rotating goalkeepers, something Mignolet had described as "not a healthy situation for a 'keeper" and which, if the case, pushes him further towards the fringes of life at Liverpool.

Karius, 24, arguably delivered his best display for Liverpool in the 2-0 win at Southampton on Sunday, making two excellent saves in the first half and generally looking assured.

Speaking afterwards, the German, who joined from Mainz in May 2016, said: "In the last few games I've had more stuff to do and I've been able to make some saves, which give you more confidence. I feel good, I feel strong.

"Getting consistent game time helps a lot. I have had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team."

The German added that Liverpool will have to make a head start today for a chance to go through to the last eight.

"Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us," he said. "But for it to be an advantage we need to put ourselves in a good position in the tie."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2018, with the headline 'Klopp gives Karius No. 1 backing, with glove'. Print Edition | Subscribe