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Ter Stegen: Saved by the Kop?

January 13, 2016
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The rumours of Ter Stegen moving to Liverpool have been gaining steam, even if his buyout clause will cause issues for anyone looking to make use of his services. It is becoming more and more obvious that whilst Mignolet is unquestionably a world class shot stopper, he is not a complete goalkeeper like De Gea.

With Liverpool wanting to push on up the table, a change at the back could work wonders. Whilst it is indisputable that the Belgian international pushed them to great heights in his debut season with the side, a fair few queries have been levelled at his play that has blown points for them in his time at the club, including his inability to catch crosses and work with his defense as a playmaker.

If they want to play an up-tempo, attacking style of play then they need a goalkeeper who is an excellent passing outlet from the back. Something that their current shot stopper Mignolet is known for struggling with. And something that Ter Stegen provides in bucket loads.

With Liverpool looking to play a style that generates opportunities from the back, they are going to really benefit from bringing in a goalkeeper that can do more than stop shots and set up chances. Ter Stegen is unique in the current game is his ambidextrous kicking; a dual footed whiz that can change passing lanes and open up space in milliseconds.

A modern goalkeeper with the world at his feet in more ways than one, he is currently being sidelined with the club of his dreams. Ter Stegen has fallen out of favour in spite of his input in the treble winning season.

Deeply criticised by a fanbase that don’t understand that his style of play creates fantastic opportunities but can end horrifically if mistakes are made it is no wonder that his mental game is off.

If he makes mistakes at this level, they are going to be disastrous. But that is the nature of that style, and more importantly, he is showing the mental strength to switch back on after conceding and fight for his team, which you do not see in so many goalkeepers at the pro level, no matter their age.

In his defence, playing an attacking style that takes risks aggressively, relies upon Ter Stegen’s ability to read the game and time interceptions perfectly. This isn’t being helped by his lack of game time or the fact he is playing behind a defence he doesn’t play with regularly which makes being their goalkeeper almost impossible as they aren’t used to leaving the ball for the goalkeeper and so on!

Ter Stegen’s current situation is further complicated by the rise of third choice Jordi Masip. Masip is well thought of by the fans and the club, Ter Stegen himself getting subbed off to give him playing time.

The politics of having a home grown player waiting in the wings adds to the controversy, as giving Masip a chance as they did with Valdes puts faith back in their ability to develop home talent for the fans.

Why Barca signed Ter Stegen in the first place when his style directly conflicts with Bravo also adds to the confusion: under Bravo Barca play a tighter defence (Bravo preferring to sit deep and not being involved in the play), whereas with Ter Stegen, they play the most open formation on the planet that allows him to set up scoring chances playing it out long to Neymar.

It is no wonder then that frustrated at being benched he would want to organise a move so that he can get regular football and push towards owning the German number one shirt. Barcelona’s great loss, even if they cannot see it, can be someone else’s major gain.

Klop is known to make big decisions and moves in the market to improve his sides, and is also known to be a great fan of Ter Stegen’s work and ability. So the possibility of him sorting out a move is not out of the question.

At the spritely age of 23, Ter Stegen already has experience of Champions League football, is still learning and already has broader technical base than Mignolet, which makes him a great investment for the future, should Klop prise him away from Spain.

Confidence is a major part of goalkeeping and a move where he would be tutored and taken under the wing of a veteran second choice, away from the intense pressure of that of the Camp Nou will do wonders for him and Liverpool should rumours persist.

Ter Stegen is a wunderkind as they say in his homeland, starting his career at Borussia Mönchengladbach by coming off the bench and straight into a baptism of fire that saw him put up the best defensive record behind a weak defence in that season, and letting his talent go to waste is more than a shame for the glorious game.

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