Things are moving fast around Anfield these days and after signing former FC Augsburg defender Ragnar Klavan earlier in the week and agreeing a deal for Newcastle United midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, the Reds have drafted in yet another player with veteran goalkeeper Alex Manninger handed a short-term contract. The 39-year old, who has played for both Arsenal and Juventus, will not only bring a wealth of knowledge to a relatively inexperienced dressing room, but he’ll also plug a vital gap in the squad should things go awry.
“We have sent out some of the goalkeepers on loan and get games, which is important because in this position you only come off the bench if there is an injury or a red card,” said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp. “They changed the rules so we cannot bring an U21 goalkeeper back from a team in England during the season if we have a problem, so we had to make a decision – keep somebody back to protect us or bring in someone else who can give us experience and I think this is the best solution to allow others to develop.”
Manniger, of course, will be behind both incumbent first choice shot-stopper Simon Mignolet and heir to the throne Loris Karius in the pecking order, but it’s always good to have another option on hand. Having sent out up and coming ‘keeper Danny Ward on loan and allowed Adam Bogdan to move to Wigan Athletic for the year, should there be a goalkeeping crisis at Anfield, Klopp will have a willing and competent solution on hand. The move is still subject to international clearance, but he’s already with the squad in the United States as they get set to square off with Premier League rivals Chelsea next Wednesday.
“Honestly, it was a surprise. After these years, in Italy and the last four years in Germany, I hadn’t given up, I hadn’t said ‘that’s it’, I still waited for the phone call,” enthused Manniger, speaking to the club’s official website after putting pen to paper. “When Liverpool was on the phone, it was a great pleasure for me to take it on because it gives me what I was looking for. This is the moment I was waiting for until the end.”