No reason for Liverpool to be flustered by injury to goalkeeper

2/9

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Liverpool to finish in the top four

As a general rule, it naturally isn’t a good thing when a summer signing who is expected to stroll straight into the starting line-up suffers a pretty serious injury before he has even made his competitive debut.

Given the lack of love for Simon Mignolet and the scepticism greeting the recruitment of 39-year-old Alex Manninger as Liverpool’s third-choice goalkeeper for 2016-17, it is arguable that there was no squad member whose presence on the Melwood treatment table would have generated more panic than that of Loris Karius.

The German shot-stopper, who was imported from Mainz earlier this window for £4.7m, is expected to be sidelined for between eight and 10 weeks after breaking his hand against Chelsea in an International Champions Cup match.

However, if you follow the more optimistic side of the timescale estimate, factor in the two-week wait until the start of the season and the existence of the September international break, it is possible that the 23-year-old will only sit out five Premier League games.

That accounts for a mere 13% of the course so, although there are tricky fixtures in that period such as trips to Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, it is far from a campaign crusher, especially when you consider that the Reds collected five points from those away days in the first half of 2015-16.

Mignolet was between the posts for all of those encounters incidentally and it is worth observing that, while the Belgian is in no way a popular figure on Merseyside, very few of the mishaps which led to him being regarded so suspiciously occurred in the sunnier months of August and September.

In fact, two of his three seasons at Liverpool commenced with three successive clean sheets, with Manchester United and Arsenal among the adversaries shut out, so his Anfield obituary has perhaps been written a tad prematurely.

The first of those concession-light openings provided the platform for a Premier League title challenge and second-place finish, and it is 13/8 that they finish in the top four again next term under Jurgen Klopp.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.