David de Gea’s early Manchester United criticism should be remembered before judging Liverpool’s Loris Karius, says Chris Kirkland.
Karius came under fire after he spilled Steve Cook’s long-range drive and allowed Nathan Ake to fire in a late winner in Bournemouth’s 4-3 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
Sky Sports Football Expert Jamie Carragher described Karius’ mistake as “shocking”, also blaming the goalkeeper for Cherries’ second goal, and said the 23-year-old is still unconvincing.
However, speaking on Premier League Daily, former Liverpool goalkeeper Kirkland has come to the defence of Karius.
“Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have never liked goalkeepers,” joked Kirkland. “They’ve always hammered ‘keepers. I remember playing with Jamie and he used to give me a lot of stick!
“It’s important we remember what happened with David de Gea at Man United. I remember Gary Neville criticising De Gea in his first season. He was getting lambasted left, right and centre. Now he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”
Kirkland insisted Cook’s shot, which led to Ake’s winner, was not as easy to save for Karius as it looked.
“It’s a mistake, he’ll know that,” said Kirkland. “I always try and put myself in the situation and I would be disappointed with that goal. For me, and goalkeepers listening now, they’ll probably be the only ones that understand, they’re the hardest shots to save.
“It sounds silly. The shots that are around you like them, dipping and swirling just in front of you, people will say ‘you’ve got to save them’. Only goalkeepers understand the way that ball moves and they are extremely difficult.”
Former Queens Park Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink agreed with Kirkland, and placed shared blame for the goal at Karius’ team-mates.
“That for me is the bigger disappointment, that Ake is the first to the ball and not one of the back four,” said Hasselbaink. “Now that I am a manager I appreciate the goalkeepers a lot more because I know what kind of work is going into it and yes it is a hard save.
“He should do better to hold it, but on top of that the back four should always expect him to spill it and they should be there.”
Kirkland, who played for Liverpool between 2001 and 2006, believes it is more important for Liverpool to consider signing defenders in January than replacing Karius.
“For me it’s more important that they get a settled back four,” said Kirkland. “[Joel] Matip has been a big miss. When him and [Dejan] Lovren have played together they have looked solid.
“Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, very good player, very steady. James Milner at left-back, okay he is not a left-back, but he’s probably one of Liverpool’s most influential players from left-back.
“If them four can play together I’d be confident the clean sheets will come. But keeping everyone fit will be difficult.
“Do I think he’ll [Jurgen Klopp] add in January? Yeah I do. I think it’s well known that [Mamadou] Sakho doesn’t have a future at Liverpool, so I think they do need to go out and strengthen the defence.”