John Gibbons: Eyeing up a new safe pair of hands for child-like Klopp

The Anfield Wrap writer has used Liverpool’s time off to enjoy some footie elsewhere and scout a new man between the sticks…


Liverpool had a weekend off last week, which is never particularly welcome but even more so when you have just battered the Portuguese champions 5-0 on their own ground.

If your team aren’t playing well you are sometimes happy to spend the time pretending football doesn’t exist. But when you are, it is very frustrating. You have to get your footy fix from somewhere else.

Which is what I did. I was in Edinburgh, so I went to watch Hibernian play Aberdeen at Easter Road. (They don’t play Sunshine on Leith at every game you know. Feel massively conned.)

I watched every FA Cup game I could and jumped out my seat when Will Grigg scored the winner on Monday night. And of course, I watched the Champions League, partly to see if anyone is good enough to stop Liverpool’s march to number six (they’re not), and partly to scout potential signings – you know, just in case Jurgen asks.

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So, whilst my Twitter timeline was full of people moaning about a snooze fest in Seville, I was watching Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma. Or, more particularly Roma keeper Alisson Becker, who has been heavily linked with the Reds, and who, if he does sign, the old fella that sits next to me at Anfield will either call ‘Elvis’ or ‘Boris’. I can’t quite decide which.

He’s really good anyway, you’ll be pleased to know. He made one brilliant save against Taison and generally looked confident, agile, commanding and lots of other words we haven’t been able to use to describe a goalkeeper since Pepe Reina got stuck into the Daim Bars.

So yes, he is good enough to play for Liverpool. But does that mean he will? I have my doubts. Firstly because, and I don’t want to shock you here, transfer rumours have been wrong in the past.

There is also the possibility that they like another goalkeeper even more. But, I am also not quite sure how bothered the manager is about goalkeepers in general.

At Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp was quite happy to stick with the solid, if unspectacular Roman Weidenfeller, who had been signed on a free transfer from Kaiserslautern. As soon as he left, Thomas Tuchel sacked him off and brought in Roman Burki. Klopp could have upgraded at any point, he just chose to concentrate on other areas.

At Liverpool Jurgen Klopp persisted with Simon Mignolet longer than pretty much anyone else would have – possibly even Simon himself. Now he has turned to £4.7m signing Loris Karius, whose Liverpool career started rockier than Giants Causeway, but right now is doing alright.

If he continues to do alright, you wouldn’t be surprised if Jurgen chooses to stick with him. That’s because sticking with goalkeepers is what he has done his entire managerial career.

There is talk that a new contract for Alisson at Roma would include a release clause around £80m. Even if he doesn’t sign, Roma are likely to demand a high figure for him.

Especially after Liverpool had them off over Mo Salah. Klopp could decide to spend a large chunk of his summer budget on a goalkeeper.

Lots of the supporters would like him to, and for most casual football fans it is the position that most needs improving, so it would make sense. You just suspect though, that the manager that would rather spend it on some fast lads who kick it in the goal instead.

It is often said that Klopp has an almost child-like appreciation of football. No-one else celebrates, fist bumps or just laughs out load in press conferences quite like him.

He’s like Tom Hanks in Big. Remember when you were 11 playing in the playground and all the best lads played up front and you stuck the rubbish lad in goal?

I reckon Jurgen still thinks like that, in a way. He just can’t be bothered with them.

Goalkeeper? He’ll do. Full back? I’ll find one in the academy or in Scotland. Just give me a massive lad at centre half who can head everything away and loads of boss lads up front. We’ll win the South Liverpool U12s First Division at a canter.

But will it work in the grown up Premier League? We’ll have to wait and see. But, after Porto, Jurgen Klopp has won more away games by five or more goals than any other Liverpool manager. Up The Playground Reds!

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What do you think?