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Jurgen Klopp must be ruthless, replace Simon Mignolet in Liverpool goal

LONDON -- It may ultimately be one of the factors that elevates Pep Guardiola above most of his managerial peers. He has that sense of ruthlessness and a readiness to admit a mistake and rectify it before it costs you even more than it already has.

Guardiola possesses that cold streak, but it could be argued that Jurgen Klopp does not. The sight of Simon Mignolet flapping at Granit Xhaka's 30-yard strike as it flew past him for Arsenal's third goal in Friday's pulsating 3-3 draw at the Emirates emphasises the difference between the Liverpool manager and the man who has taken Manchester City 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League this season.

Guardiola made a mistake last season by signing Claudio Bravo as his No.1 goalkeeper at the Etihad, but he cut his losses during the summer by spending almost £35 million on Benfica's Ederson as the error-prone Chile international's replacement.

The City manager had risked his reputation on Bravo, believing that the former Barcelona stopper had the qualities to play the sweeper-keeper role in the Premier League. Bravo came up short and was one of the reasons why City finished fourth last season and won nothing. So Guardiola held his hands up, identified a solution and dumped Bravo for Ederson.

Klopp, on the other hand, is now approaching his fourth transfer window as Liverpool manager but continues to persevere with Mignolet, despite the Belgium international repeatedly letting his team down. It's true that Mignolet saves more than his fair share of penalties, but he drops crosses, is beaten too easily at the near post and, for Arsenal's third goal, he went to ground so early that Mesut Ozil had the easy option of dinking the ball over him to give the hosts a lead.

Klopp signed Loris Karius from Mainz for £4.7m in the summer of 2016 in an effort to intensify competition for the goalkeeping spot at Anfield, but the German has proven to be even more unreliable than Mignolet. When you invest £4.7m in a goalkeeper, you usually get a £4.7m goalkeeper.

It is such a crucial position on the pitch that the big clubs simply cannot take chances or gamble on the quality of their man between the sticks. But Liverpool have gambled for too long when it comes to theirs.

Not since Rafa Benitez signed Pepe Reina in 2005 have they had a keeper who could be described as top-class, but they've had some notably bad ones since. Mignolet is not a bad goalkeeper, but he is not a great one, either, and that is precisely what this Liverpool team needs.

Ederson has shown at City how a top-class goalkeeper can make a huge difference. Last season, Guardiola's defenders were always anxiously looking over their shoulders, worrying about what mistake Bravo would make next. Now they can focus on what is happening in front of them because they know that Ederson will comfortably take care of business behind them.

The Brazil international has injected confidence and certainty into the City defence, but Klopp's defenders at Liverpool continue to struggle because they cannot trust their goalkeeper. So with January looming, Klopp must take a leaf out of Guardiola's book and search out the commanding goalkeeper who can eradicate the problems in goal and also enable his defenders to play with less anxiety.

Klopp has given Mignolet enough chances, and the former Sunderland keeper has not responded sufficiently well enough to repay his manager's faith. Karius, meanwhile, is not good enough -- not yet, anyway -- to keep goal for a club of Liverpool's stature, so a solution has to be found.

Stoke City's England keeper Jack Butland would be an upgrade on both Mignolet and Karius, as would Sergio Romero, David de Gea's number two at Manchester United. Kasper Schmeichel at Leicester is another, a proven performer in the Premier League and Champions League, a strong communicator who could help iron out Liverpool's defensive flaws.

Liverpool could cast their net further afield and consider Sporting Lisbon's experienced Portugal No.1, Rui Patricio, or they could really push the boat out by triggering Jan Oblak's €100m escape clause at Atletico Madrid. All of the above would be improvements on Mignolet, but Oblak would be something more: he'd be a major statement of intent on Liverpool's part. But whatever they do and whomever they eventually go for, Liverpool need a better goalkeeper than the options they already have.

Guardiola did not hang around making the change at City, and Klopp needs to develop that same ruthless streak.