Hilary Castles Transfer Rumors

The Real Keeper Problem

As most of us are still trying to find what’s left of our hearts after Saturday’s Champions League Final loss, we find ourselves swimming in waves of keeper comments. Whether you think Karius should be given another chance, either as number one or downgraded to number two keeper, or if you think he shouldn’t wear the shirt again for us, we have an even bigger problem than Loris Karius.

As Jim said in his thoughtful review of the game, “Karius wasn’t the only thing that went wrong in Kiev.” Our lack of squad depth is what ultimately killed it for us. If we had our starting lineup for 70+ minutes of the game, we might have won, no doubt. We had good control of the game in the first 30 minutes. However, Mo Salah’s injury changed our dynamic. There’s our first problem. Our squad doesn’t have the bench to maintain our style of play–basically our entire identity this season has depended upon our front three and the movement and positioning around them.

As I have said in my initial video review, I think the game would have been entirely different had Oxlade-Chamberlain been on the pitch–the truly heartbreaking thing for my second favorite player on the squad. But injury is a part of the game, and not to sound like a broken record here but DEPTH. DEPTH. DEPTH.

Why is this a problem for our keeper position, you ask? 

Because we got to the final in Kiev with Loris Karius, who was always in doubt even with his rising success. People wanted Alisson or Oblak in January, and they still wanted them in March and April and May. We change the keeper out, okay, but what about our issues up the field?

First Problem

Money (isn’t it always?) Can you say War Chest? 

The rumor mill is turning with whispers that we’re getting three midfielders in addition to Naby Keita. Well, Fabinho happened hours later…

…and that leaves two midfielders. We spent close to 50mil on him, and if you believe the budget estimates, that could leave roughly 150mil give or take. Two more in midfield, or a center back, or a forward or winger to add depth the front three. If we want at or near Fabinho’s level, based on price that leaves us a budget of around 50mil for a keeper.

Out of those choices, who is most important to our success? My vote is a buffer for the front three, simply because we cannot foresee injury and we need assurances that we can score goals without them. We have looked so good out there this past season, we’ve had some amazing moments for sure, but we need to be able to hold our identity on the pitch if one or two of our Fab Three should be absent. 

Secondsies

Who’s a Keeper? 

If you had issues with Karius before the final, great. If you have issues with him after the final, no one blames you. He’s obviously young and still not where he needs to be for this squad to progress where we need to be, where we should be. I’m certain there’s not too many who’d argue he stay at numero uno.

The issue arises though–who then? As many smart and stupid people alike have pointed out, there’s not an overabundance of world-class keepers out there. The keepers we salivate over have so many prospects willing to roll over and fork out tons of money for them–and some of those prospects have deeper squads than Liverpool and have won more silverware in recent times.

The shortlist that isn’t getting any shorter– 

  • Alisson Becker – rumored asking price-90m.
    • A lot of supporters are for this move. Personally, I don’t think he’s the best option for us, but he’s proven to be pretty fantastic.
  • Jan Oblak -at least 80m
    • GO BIG OR GO HOME. My first choice, and really the only choice for me.
  • Gianluigi Donnarumma – rumored that player rejected, bid was 60m
    • Y’all lose the youth argument here. Lots of hype and still lots to prove. He’s a HUGE no for me. Would love to be proven wrong.
    • This isn’t fair to him, but the image of him falling backwards on his tip toes is burned into my brain
    • Here, I feel bad now:
  • Gigi Buffon *super rumor* – free – but the wages!
    • This is my dream, really. He has been one of my favorite players since I started watching the sport. He would be a great mentor if Karius stayed on, and it’s quite possible Buffon is hungrier for that Champions League winner’s medal than our entire squad combined. It’s true that he isn’t what he used to be, but that still leaves a world class keeper with immense character and experience.
    • File under: Never in 1000 Years 
  • and now rumors of Jasper Cillessen are swirling about – also rumored at 60m.
    • WHY. Just…WHY? very unlikely.
    • He might be an upgrade to Karius but he doesn’t have the experience of some of the other candidates. Is he world-class, elite? He might be a viable option to play ahead of Karius but also encourage development and competition.
    • Although– he can also stop headers from CR7
  • Jack Butland 
    • Why is there this love affair with him? I don’t get it.

It’s quite possible we don’t need world class or elite, but something different than Karius. He’s going to have a hell of a time coming back from this no matter where he is, and his baggage cannot get in the way of our first real chance at the league in years. I want him to do great things, but I want our team to do great things more. So, until he gets sorted, bye. 

THE HEART OF THE MATTER 

Some morning radio show on Sirius XM FC, a caller pointed out the real issue here

We all love Klopp. We love his mantra, his style, his heart, and soul. He has seemingly transformed this team back into a squad that gives us the best and worst heart palpitations, a team that neutrals and rivals enjoy watching. There’s this idealistic quality to it, a romanticism of the game based on fight, excitement, and above all–teamwork.

He has supported our players through the darkest times. Arguably, Moreno or Lovren haven’t quite seen the depths of darkness that Karius now faces. Klopp would be betraying everything he has built–his entire mantra–if he gave Karius the boot. All the things we as supporters have loved about him would need to be questioned. Klopp himself would need to be questioned–he brought Karius in. He believed Karius earned the number one spot. He saw something in Karius. And he says when the team loses, it’s all on him, not the players.

Klopp will not do anything to ruin the career of this player, of that, I am certain. Otherwise, the alternative means our manager is not who I thought he was. His belief in players, his confidence, gave us a wild and remarkable turn in Dejan Lovren. Some might call that Klopp’s weakness, but it’s also his greatest strength.

So what’s going to happen?

I think what was always going to happen. Klopp will get a world class keeper, a massive upgrade to Karius, or a rival for Karius. Normally I would say that he will get what he wants, or nothing at all. However, it’s almost certain that Mignolet is out, and with Karius teetering on who the hell knows, this isn’t a black and white issue.

It will come down to the biggest need: a surefire front set of players, subs, and backups to our backups -OR- a world class keeper.

Honestly, I just want it all. Is that too much to ask?

All of us are eagerly waiting, while Klopp is off in Spain right now:

A good reminder to get out in the sun and have some fun, and trust in Klopp. 

 

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