The Issue with Goalkeepers

(By Clément Bucco-Lechat Under CC BY-SA 3.0, modified)

What is wrong with the modern day goalkeeper? Nowadays, goalkeepers don’t catch the ball as often as they should, and often make the wrong decisions on when or when not to come out to claim a cross/when defending a 1v1. This causes goals scored on your team which can cause hatred and disbelief in your ability from your team and more importantly your manager. The worst part is it’s so avoidable.

In my opinion, Loris Karius, Simon Mignolet, Claudio Bravo, and Fraser Forster are just some of the worst goalkeepers at the top level that have played many games for their respective clubs this season. Some of the mistakes and missed saves from these goalkeepers are absolutely horrendous. 

Let’s start off with Simon Mignolet, the man that would probably punch a baby out of mid-air if it fell out a window and was flying towards him rather than catch it. He has made error after error and nothing has changed. Don’t get me wrong Mignolet is an exceptional shot-stopper on his day, but some of the decisions he makes in crucial moments are just plain stupid which costs his team lots of points over the course of the season. For a very brief period of about 2-3 games after being restored in the starting 11, Mignolet wasn’t that bad. But it seems as if he has returned to form. In Liverpool’s game vs Hull on Saturday, Mignolet made 2 errors that caused 2 goals for Hull. First, a header off a corner kick which I think wasn’t very hard to catch at all if you watch the footage and another one where he committed and came out for a 1v1 when Joel Matip the defender would’ve gotten back in time to stop the shot. His form definitely needs to change. Or he could be dropped again.

By Eddie Janssens under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mignolet was restored to the starting 11 because of his counterpart, Loris Karius, who has made tons of errors including bad positioning on free kicks, inability to catch (the case for most goalkeepers), and bad shot stopping. Karius was bad at the things that mattered and good at the things that didn’t. He was bought for his ability with the ball at his feet, but that doesn’t excuse poor handling.

Fraser Forster is another keeper that when I watch him, I just take time to think about life. I watched him play against Crystal Palace, where he received the ball from his defender and opened up taking a touch toward his goal. Immediately a Crystal Palace player pressured and tapped the ball into an empty net. Most goalkeepers are either good with their feet or good shot-stoppers, Fraser Forster is neither. I’ve seen him play numerous amounts of team where goals were conceded that shouldn’t have been,  including one instance in The EFL cup Semi-final vs Liverpool Emre Can drilled a shot virtually straight at Forster, instead of electing to catch it, (which he should’ve done) he put his hands to get her to try and punch it away the ball ricocheted off his hands and went behind him, goal-line technology was used to show that it just barely didn’t cross the line. Forster is one of the Premier League leading goalkeepers in the preventable goals category. (Goals that should have been easily saved.) 

Lastly, we’ll discuss Claudio Bravo, the replacement for Joe Hart. Bought solely for his ability with the ball at his feet, Bravo not only has failed to provide the “build-from-the-back” spark, but he is also one of the league leading goalkeepers in the preventable goals category (He’s actually the leader). He has also had issues with his positioning when goals have been scored has led to very harsh criticism. 

One thing many pundits and media outlets don’t talk about is the goalkeeping coaches. I’ve been to training at the likes of many professional teams and they actually train keepers to punch the ball away even when the ball is very catchable. And since Klopp and Claude Puel have very limited options (Guardiola being very fortunate with Caballero as a backup), they might have to resort to replacing the goalkeeping coach. If teams keep telling their keepers to punch instead of catch, it’s scary to imagine what the state of football will be in 20 years.

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Author: Kieran

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