What has happened to goalkeepers?
Why are there so few really top-quality keepers around? If Paul Robinson is the best England has to offer then there really is a big problem. The guy is dodgy with a capital D. The goal he conceded against Chelsea was just rank bad goal-keeping. He had an unobstructed view, so he could clearly see Ricardo Carvalho set himself to shoot, yet he decides not to set himself to make a save but to move to his left. Robbo must have known the Portugese defender had the whole goal to aim at, so why try and predict which side he was shooting at? The guy was over 30 yards out so if he was set and ready it would have taken a special effort to beat him. Instead Robinson allowed himself to be embarrassed by a tame shot that he should have saved easily.
But Robinson is not the only keeper to embarrass himself recently, it seems to be more and more common. The problem seems to be made worse by the fact that the goalies making the errors lose confidence and then make more and more mistakes. There no longer appears to be the supreme self-confidence that was shown by the likes of Bruce Grobbelaar and Peter Schmeichel. No matter how bad a howler they made it never affected them and they always managed to put the blame on the defence.
These days keepers fail to inspire fear in attackers going through one on one that Schmeichel and, in my opinion, the best keeper of modern times, Neville Southall (and as a non-Welsh Liverpool fan it really hurts to admit that!) inspired. Only the most mentally strong strikers, the Ian Wrights and Robbie Fowlers, ever seemed to have the beating of Schmeichel.
For instance I can remember a game at Anfield that Liverpool went on to win 2-0 in which Schmeichel faced four or five one on one situations. Unfortunately for Liverpool most of those chances fell to Stan Collymore, every time it happened you just knew Collymore would bottle it, and each time he did.
These days there are no keepers who can do that to a striker, who can psyche him out as he breaks through. The likes of Marcus Hahnemann and Paddy Kenny are just not good enough for the Premier League. The only really top keepers I see at the moment are Jussi Jaaskelainen and Petr Cech.
Maybe the problem is coaching, after all I know Liverpool goalies suffered due to bad coaching in previous years. Joe Corrigan managed to destroy both Sander Westerveld and Jerzy Dudek with his hopeless coaching. Both players had good first seasons , then they suffered from a complete lack of confidence in their second.
While Jose Reina is prone to errors it never seems to affect his confidence and I put a lot of that down to the improvement in coaching at Liverpool. I do not believe that the movement of the balls is the problem, after all goalies are much bigger and more agile than they used to be and so should be able to cope better. Especially with all the recent improvements in coaching reactions.
Article written by Tris Burke