Mignolet in doubt as Klopp set to opt for Karius against Porto
Belgian keeper likely to sit out Liverpool’s Champions League match in Lisbon
Count ’em: Jürgen Klopp at St Mary’s Stadium on Sunday, where Liverpool beat Southampton 2-0. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Mignolet has shared the goalkeeping duties with Loris Karius this season, having been first choice in the Premier League, with the German chosen to start in the Champions League. But Klopp confirmed last month, and following Liverpool’s 4-3 win against Manchester City, that Karius was his official No 1. Karius started the City match and has played in the four league games since.
Mignolet has featured in that time, playing in the 3-2 FA Cup defeat against West Bromwich Albion, and the presumption was that he had become Liverpool’s goalkeeper for cup matches and therefore would be starting the last-16 first tie at Estádio do Dragão. But that does not appear to be the case now.
“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 would face Porto. “A good one will play. That’s the plan. But I haven’t made the decision so far.”
The head coach’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 would push him further towards the fringes.
The 29-year-old joined from Sunderland in June 2013 and was part of the team that came close to winning the Premier League title under Brendan Rodgers. Mignolet has largely failed to convince at Anfield, however.
Karius 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 24-year-old – who arrived from Mainz for £4.7 million 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 as a goalkeeper. I feel good, I feel strong and I always try to be there when the team needs me.
“I’ve had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team. I enjoy every day of being here as it’s a great club.”
Looking ahead to the tie with Porto, Karius said: “They play good football. In Portugal it’s usually between them and Benfica [for the title]. We are determined to get a good result in the first leg. Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us.” – Guardian