Alisson, Karius, James & Liverpool’s sorry history of goalkeeping howlers

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Life between the sticks dictates that the odd mistake will be made, but the Reds have seen their chosen shot-stoppers drop more clangers than most

It is often said that goalkeepers are wired a little differently to your average footballer.

Life between the sticks can be lonely and unforgiving, with a special kind of character required to pull on a pair of gloves.

As the last line of defence, a tightrope between praise and scorn is walked each and every time said individuals take to the field.

Those to have graced the books at Liverpool during the Premier League era know that better than most, with the Reds boasting an unfortunate history when it comes to costly clangers.

With the club’s most recent outing seeing them add another entry to that list, Goal casts an eye over some of the performances from recent memory that those at Anfield would rather forget.

  1. David James

    Picking up the nickname ‘Calamity’ tells you all you need to know about a man who was still considered good enough to earn 53 England caps. James’ spell at Anfield was littered with high-profile gaffes, with his flap to Eric Cantona in the 1996 FA Cup final costing the’ Spice Boys’ dear. A trio of errors during a classic meeting with Newcastle in 1997 would see James make his infamous excuse of playing too many computer games, telling reporters: “I was getting carried away playing Tekken II and Tomb Raider for hours on end.” A matter of weeks later and James was still clearly distracted as he strayed off his line during a meeting with Manchester United to wave a seemingly harmless cross onto the head of a grateful Andy Cole.

  2. Sander Westerveld

    With Liverpool looking good to take a point from a trip to Bolton in August 2001, a dramatic late error from their Dutch goalkeeper ultimately saw them head home empty-handed. Dean Holdsworth fired in a speculative drive from distance which dipped in front of Westerveld. Unable to get his body behind the strike, the Reds’ No.1 could only watch on in horror as the ball squirmed underneath him and into the back of the net. Then Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier had seen enough and within the space of a week Chris Kirkland and Jerzy Dudek had been signed, with Westerveld never to be seen again as he was initially benched and then moved on to Real Sociedad before Christmas.

  3. Jerzy Dudek

    Manchester United fans to this day still sing about the time Diego Forlan made the Merseyside natives cry in December 2002. Reds supporters were left aghast after seeing Dudek make the most stunning of errors during a meeting with their old adversaries. The Poland international - who enjoyed plenty of highs at Anfield, including the 2005 Champions League final – for some reason endured one of those days against United. The lowest point on afternoon of painful lows came when Dudek allowed a ball nodded back to him by Jamie Carragher to slip through his arms, out between his legs and into the path of Forlan to roll into an empty net. He also rather flapped at a fierce drive from the Uruguayan frontman which wrapped up the points for the Red Devils.

  4. Scott Carson

    Will forever be remembered for his mistakes on a greasy Wembley pitch during a qualifying clash with Croatia which cost England a place at Euro 2008, but Carson has made the odd error elsewhere as well. He was an emerging talent when on the books at Anfield and faced fierce competition for places, which restricted him to just nine appearances. One of those came against Juventus in the Champions League back in April 2005, with Liverpool en route to a stunning European triumph in Istanbul. The first leg of a quarter-final clash with Juve saw them move two goals to the good, but Carson – who had performed admirably on the night up until that point – allowed a Fabio Cannavaro header to slip through his fingers and make the end result a little closer than it should have been.

  5. Charles Itandje

    Widely considered to have been one of the most bemusing goalkeeping additions made by the Reds, Itandje would spend most of his time on Merseyside with his head in his hands. Did not make a single appearance for the Reds after acting inappropriately during the memorial service to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. He had made only seven prior to that, with an FA Cup outing against Barnsley in February 2008 seeing some collective heads scratched. Wandered off his line and could not get back in time as he was lobbed for an opening goal from the Tykes, before then being beaten by a low shot at his near post as Liverpool found themselves on the wrong end of a giant-killing at Anfield.

  6. Pepe Reina

    The Spaniard spent nine years on the books at Anfield, taking in close to 400 appearances. He took in over 50 outings in six of his seasons with Liverpool, with it little surprise to find that he occasionally got things wrong given how frequently he was called upon. Reina was, and still is, a fine shot-stopper, but he was also prone to the odd lapse in concentration. On the opening day of the 2010-11 campaign he spilled a Marouane Chamakh effort into his own net, before a matter of weeks later throwing away two more points in a Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest as a tame effort rolled through his legs. Fast forward and the theme of throwing away points continued as Reina found himself diving over a shot from Sergio Aguero in 2012 and racing off his line to allow the Argentine to score in another Premier League meeting with Manchester City 12 months later.

  7. Simon Mignolet

    A goalkeeper who has swung widely between the sublime and the ridiculous throughout his time with Liverpool, and one who now finds himself back on the bench and out of favour as a result of his struggles for consistency. In December 2015, Mignolet failed to prevent a corner sailing over his head against West Brom which allowed Craig Dawson to score, with that incident the eighth mistake he had made leading directly to a goal in the space of three seasons. There would be more to follow, with one particular low-light two years on from the aforementioned showing against the Baggies seeing the Belgian flap at fresh air as a swerving effort from Granit Xhaka helped Arsenal to a memorable 3-3 draw with the Reds.

  8. Adam Bogdan

    Just a week after Mignolet had dropped his clanger against West Brom, Bogdan fluffed his lines after being handed an opportunity to impress during a Premier League debut for Liverpool away at Watford. There were just three minutes on the clock at Vicarage Road when the Hungarian rose to collect a corner floated into the Liverpool box. Rather than gather the ball cleanly, though, Bogdan proceeded to drop it and Nathan Ake was on hand to sweep home for the Hornets. The Reds would go on to lose the game 3-0 and Bogdan has made just one top-flight appearance since, with the 30-year-old currently back out on loan at Scottish side Hibernian.

  9. Loris Karius

    The German had never really inspired confidence with his outings for Liverpool prior to a Champions League final clash with Real Madrid in May 2018, but his struggles in Kiev proved to be the last straw. A tangle with Sergio Ramos which left him concussed undoubtedly did his cause few favours, but Karius will forever be haunted by the memories of an outing which saw him roll one ball onto the foot of Karim Benzema and allow another from the boot of Gareth Bale to slip through his grasp. Of his most forgettable outings prior to that fateful night in the Ukraine, an error-strewn showing in a 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth in December 2016 still causes Reds supporters nightmares.

  10. Alisson

    Briefly the most expensive goalkeeper of all time, the Brazil international was supposed to be the final piece in a Premier League title-winning jigsaw at Anfield. He may well prove to be that, with the 2018-19 campaign opened with three successive clean sheets. Alisson was a reassuring presence throughout that run, but the South American also showed that he is going to jangle a few nerves with his penchant for taking the odd risk. He took the art of playing out from the back a step too far in his most recent outing against Leicester, with an ill-advised Cruyff turn inside his own box allowing Kelechi Iheanacho to pick his pocket and tee up Rachid Ghezzal. The 25-year-old has vowed to not to repeat his “stupid” error, while Klopp has attempted to sweep the matter quickly under the carpet.