Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Simon Mignolet will start Tuesday night's (25 October) EFL Cup fourth-round tie against Tottenham Hotspur, but insists that summer signing Loris Karius remains his first-choice goalkeeper.
Mignolet previously served as Liverpool's main custodian until late September, when Karius, who joined the club in a £4.7m ($5.7m) move from Bundesliga outfit Mainz in May, recovered from surgery on a broken hand suffered following an accidental punch on centre-back Dejan Lovren during a pre-season International Champions Cup friendly defeat to Chelsea in Pasadena.
Klopp initially kept faith in Mignolet despite Karius' return to fitness. The former German youth international, handed the number one shirt upon his arrival at Anfield, was twice named as a substitute before being handed the chance to impress at Derby County.
He did not concede a goal during that comfortable victory at the iPro Stadium and successfully retained his place for subsequent top-flight matches against Hull, Swansea, Manchester United and West Brom.
With their roles reversed, Mignolet is the one who will now hope to use a rare cup appearance to prove that he is still capable of performing for the club on a weekly basis.
Confirming that the former Sunderland stopper will face Tottenham barring any late injury setback, Klopp told reporters at his pre-match press conference: "The chance is at 100% – it's a good chance. That's only if nothing happens in training, then he will play 100%. He is a real professional. We've had a few talks. It's not that I had the perfect answer – I could not say 'you are bad and he is good' and that's why he [Karius] is playing."
Karius kept his first Premier League clean sheet during a dour goalless draw with Manchester United at Anfield last Monday night, but many have expressed concern by just how nervous he has looked during the early stages of his Liverpool career. A continuation of those shaky performances could lead to calls for Mignolet to return, although Klopp clearly retains confidence in the 23-year-old.
"In this moment, we have a number one and that's Loris Karius, like we had a number one when Loris was not fit and it was Simon," he added. "That's the situation and what the goalkeepers know. I cannot leave them in doubt. There was a short period, a short moment, with the two or three games we gave Loris to see a little bit more of him.
"After the last international break, I spoke to both of them and we made this decision. I know for a player it is always a big thing not to start, not to play, but for a goalkeeper it's a little bit more different. In this moment, there's nothing else to say. We made the decision and that's the ranking, if you want. Loris is, in this moment, number one and Simon is, in this moment, number two, but that's all."
Klopp, who had "nothing else to say" about a potential return to Anfield for iconic former captain Steven Gerrard, is expected to make further changes to the team to face Spurs. Liverpool have no new injury worries to contend with following Saturday's 2-1 win over West Brom on Merseyside, with various knocks picked up against the Baggies not thought to be serious.