9 Oct 2015

Transfer Priority: Klopp hails 'really good' £10m star, and admits that Liverpool need 'stable defence'

During his three years in charge, ex-Reds boss Brendan Rodgers made quite a few costly mistakes, with one of the most egregious being his decision to stick with Simon Mignolet over the last eighteen months. Mignolet is a consistently destabilising influence on the team, and in my view, Rodgers should've replaced him after the 2013-14 season. With Jurgen Klopp now in charge, a new goalkeeper should be at the top of his transfer priority list, but it's disappointing to note that the German appears to rate Mignolet.

When asked today about Liverpool's players, Klopp noted:

"I believe in the potential of this team. There are four or five strikers I can work with, experienced defenders, and the goalkeeper is really good".

Klopp didn't need to specifically mention the 'goalkeeper' here, and that fact that he has suggests that he genuinely rates Mignolet, which is (IMO) a concern.

Klopp may be talking about Adam Bogdan, and if that's the case, great! However, considering Mignolet is Liverpool's undisputed number-one, it's likely that he is the subject of the manager's praise.

Klopp also outlined his top priority for Liverpool:

"The first thing, always, is you need to have a stable defence. You can only stay confident in a game when you know not each offensive move of the other team is a goal".

Mignolet and the concept of a 'stable defence' are mutually exclusive, and if Klopp wants to improve Liverpool defensively, then he needs to get rid of the Belgian and bring in a confidence, commanding presence between the sticks.

Fans expecting Klopp to transform Liverpool's defence may be in for a rude awakening, though. Over the last three years:

* Dortmund's defensive record is practically the same as Liverpool's.

* In the league, for example, Both Dortmund and Liverpool have averaged 1.2 goals conceded per game.

* Rodgers' team has achieved more clean sheets than Klopp's Dortmund side (49 vs. 37).

Rodgers was regularly lambasted for Liverpool's defensive problems, but Klopp's Dortmund team appears to have similar issues over the last three years.

It's great that Klopp recognises that Liverpool have to build a solid foundation at the back, but it'll be all for nothing if he - like Rodgers - retains Mignolet, and keeps him as the club's number one.

Of course, it's possible that Klopp will transform Mignolet into a world-class keeper, with superb distribution, excellent communication, and peerless concentration, but it seems unlikely.

Author: Jaimie K


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