Two former Reds shot-stoppers know all about filling back-up duties at Anfield, and say the right call has been made in sticking with the Spaniard
Liverpool’s decision not to replace Adrian with another goalkeeper has been backed by Tony Warner, with the former Reds shot-stopper pointing out that “sometimes the devil you know is better than one you don’t”.
Jurgen Klopp has been forced to tinker with his plans between the sticks once again in 2020-21. First-choice custodian Alisson has been laid low by another untimely injury.
Adrian had to step in to cover for the Brazil international shortly after his arrival at Anfield in the summer of 2019, with the Spaniard initially offering plenty of cause for encouragement.
Errors have, however, crept into his game and questions are being asked of his reliability in a crucial position for the defending Premier League champions.
There have been suggestions that Liverpool could use the final hours of a domestic window to bring in an alternative option – amid links to the likes of Jack Butland and Ben Foster – but Warner believes faith should be shown in Adrian.
A man who knows all about life as a No 2 at Anfield told The Athletic: “Sometimes the devil you know is better than one you don’t. Who could Liverpool have realistically signed keeper-wise this summer?
“No one would have expected Alisson to get another bad injury so essentially you would have been trying to sign someone who has been playing regularly and doing really well elsewhere and is willing to give that up to be a squad player.
“It doesn’t happen often. The best example I can think of is when Asmir Begovic, an established Premier League keeper, went from Stoke to Chelsea as back-up to Thibaut Courtois.
“You’ve also got to factor in the pressure and expectation that comes with playing for Liverpool which is different to most other clubs.
“The style of Klopp’s team with the high lines that makes things more difficult for the keeper, who is involved so much with the ball at his feet. Adrian did a decent job for the most part last season. It would be wrong to write him off.”
Another former Liverpool keeper who spent plenty of time watching on from the bench during his days on Merseyside, Chris Kirkland, also believes that the right decision has been made in not dipping into the transfer market.
He said: “I wasn’t surprised Liverpool didn’t sign another keeper this summer. Their record with Adrian in the team was very good last season. He produced a lot of good performances and proved he’s good enough, despite what happened against Atletico and Villa.
“I know Liverpool also have high hopes for [Caoimhin] Kelleher so it will be interesting to see what happens with him. Working with Alisson and [John] Achterberg, it doesn’t get much better than that for a young keeper – but the time has to be right to throw a young keeper in.
“Life as a keeper is all about responding to setbacks and that’s what Adrian has to do now. It’s hard not to stew on things.
“When I was in England squads with David Seaman I used to ask him how he got over mistakes. He said the best keepers around have the ability to accept it, put it behind them quickly and refocus.”