Jurgen Klopp has urged Simon Mignolet to maintain his current run of form between the sticks for Liverpool, or else Loris Karius may recapture his starting berth.
The German boss has had to alternate between his two first-team goalkeepers this season after both endured tough spells in goal for the Reds, and rumours back on Wednesday had alleged that Klopp may look to bring £20m-rated Manchester City keeper Joe Hart in to replace them as undisputed number one at the club.
After rubbishing those claims, however, Klopp told the Liverpool Echo that he was pleased with the manner in which Mignolet had fought back to reclaim his place in the team from last summer's arrival Karius, and warned the Belgian that the German shot stopper was hot on his heels to try and stake his claim for a place in Liverpool's lineup.
He said: “Simon is in a very good moment and hopefully it will stay like this. It’s a very important position. We know what he can do. The only thing a player in a football team cannot do is moan about the situation in public because it can never change something, only cost the team.
Simon Mignolet has only conceded 8 goals in his last 8 games, and more importantly made some massive, game winning contributions #LFC— THE LFC POLL (@TheLFCPoll) April 16, 2017
“Now Loris has to be the real challenger. He deals with the situation really well also. He has said nothing in public - the only possibility to change the situation is always on the training pitch and that is how it is. This is the business. They both work really hard.
“If something would happen (to Mignolet) then we would still have a really strong keeper, and nothing changes in my opinion. Hopefully it stays like that.
“There is nothing negative to say about it but nothing too positive because the past performance is gone. We have to make sure there is an even better performance next game.”
Klopp was also pressed for his opinions on the way Liverpool have consistently shipped goals this term - the Merseyside outfit having let in 40 goals in the league - but the ex-Dortmund boss admitted he was at a loss to explain why his side kept conceding when they weren't that bad defensively.
He said: “Look at the goals we’ve conceded this season, they don’t make sense as a statistic
“Not a lot of teams have outplayed us. It is not that they create chance after chance after chance, we defend really well. It is not interesting how you concede goals because it’s still a goal, but for us it is important.
“It is not because there’s a fault in our general defending style - it is not that we are too high or can’t defend counter-attacks. We don’t concede a lot of goals like this.
“We are a good defending team, the highest level defending team, but at the end we still concede goals from different situations. We have to improve of course but it is not the biggest issue we have.
Liverpool have conceded in 40 Premier League goals so far, because of our first-choices in the backline only played 14 out of 33 matches.— Liverpool FC fan (@I_am_Kopite) April 19, 2017
“We have conceded a few around set-pieces and a few counters, but not attacks. The number of goals we’ve conceded is absolutely too high.
"It is really rare in my personal history that we concede goals like that big number, but we will work on it 100%. But it’s not about a defending style.”
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