Having agreed to pay Southampton a fee of £75 million for Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have proven themselves to be serious wannabe’s.
Can we expect a serious title challenge in the near future? Next season for example? Well, if they strengthen further it can’t be ruled out.
Liverpool fans will be pleased with the imminent arrival of the Dutchman as the false dawn brought on by a couple of clean sheets appears to be over.
In fact, it was only in the recent game against Arsenal where their defence looked to be back to it’s good old shaky self. Prior to that, Klopp had got the team conceding fewer goals than at virtually any time during his tenure.
One centre back will not necessarily solve the problem but a player of the quality van Dijk possesses is certainly a step in the right direction.
However, to be serious contenders at the very top of the table Liverpool need a world class goalkeeper.
It is difficult to believe, when viewed from the outside, that a team which has boasted Ray Clemence, Bruce Grobelaar and Pepe Reina as three of their outstanding keepers of the past, is now happy to play Simon Mignolet in goal!
He is always only one step away from disaster, he is an accident waiting to happen. If there is an opportunity to make a mistake he will usually grab it with both hands, unlike if there is a ball to catch.
He attempts to punch the ball and misses. He attempts to catch the ball and drops it. The ball can be shot straight at him and we have seen him dive out of the way. He would struggle to be first choice at many other Premier League teams, not just the other members of the top six.
So why is he first choice at Liverpool? In truth it is probably because he is slightly better than their second choice, Loris Karius. That, however, is no excuse for a team like Liverpool who should have at least one world class goalkeeper and another who is not too far behind as second choice.
The Manchester clubs have Ederson and De Gea, while Chelsea have Courtois. They are by far the best three goalkeepers in the Premier League and probably in Europe. So it is no coincidence that the teams for which they play currently occupy the top three places in their league. Arsenal have Peter Cech who, whilst he is getting on a bit, is still streets ahead of Mignolet.
Even Spurs have the French national goalkeeper although, to be fair, he has done very little to impress whenever we have had the good fortune to watch Tottenham. Yet he is still better than Mignolet, who can’t even get into the Belgian team which isn’t particularly renowned for being awash with goalkeepers.
Great teams of the past usually had great goalkeepers. As we said, the best Liverpool team ever had Ray Clemence. Manchester United during the golden years had Peter Schmeichel, Chelsea had Peter Cech and Arsenal had David Seaman. All household names and all, except for Clemence, automatic first choice for their countries, (Clemence had the misfortune to be around at the same time as Peter Shilton).
So, by our reckoning, with van Dijk alongside another ex-Southampton player in Dejan Lovren, Liverpool will definitely concede less goals. If however, they wish to be taken seriously next season, they HAVE to buy a goalkeeper to replace the clown currently between the sticks.
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