By Richard Parks
Tony Cascarino has insisted that Liverpool need to replace senior pair Loris Karius and Dejan Lovren this summer.
The Sky Sports pundit, who has a regular slot on the network’s Premier League daily show, panned goalkeeper Karius and centre-back Lovren in the wake of their performances in the Merseyside giants’ Champions League semi-final triumph over Roma.
Both first-team mainstays played the full 90 minutes of both legs, which Liverpool won 7-6 on aggregate to book a place against Real Madrid in the final on 26 May.
“Liverpool are a fine side but the jigsaw is not complete,” Cascarino wrote in the Times. “Dejan Lovren needs to be replaced in central defence and, as last night showed, the goalkeeping position must also be addressed.
“Loris Karius simply cannot be Liverpool’s No1 next season. Roma’s second goal by Edin Dzeko, right, was a bread-and-butter save yet he pushed it out exactly to where the striker was standing.
“Even worse was the way that he came out to clatter Dzeko in the penalty area, saved by an erroneous offside flag — there was no way on Earth that he could have got to the ball first. His team-mates do not have confidence in him, and rightly so.”
Football Insider verdict:
Who could blame the Liverpool players for not having faith in Karius? He does not exude calmness or solidity, and, for every decent save he makes, there is a piece of ropey keeping. He made a few major blunders in the second leg, just as he did in the first. Liverpool are able to get away with having such an average keeper because some many other elements of their side function so well. As Cascarino suggests, a new No1 is needed and Karius’ best place would be as a back-up to the main man, with Simon Mignolet offloaded in the summer window. As for Lovren, his performances have been more impressive since his Wembley meltdown against Tottenham in October than many of his critics would admit. He is a dominant centre-back who takes risks, any occasionally gets things wrong. But he has been impressive in the second half of the season and his form has been key to the team reaching the Champions League final. He should certainly not be sold, and won’t be, either.