Jürgen Klopp has backed Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius and says he must shut himself away from the "very harsh" criticism that he has received in recent weeks.
An amateur error in the last minutes of the defeat to Bournemouth last Saturday saw the German fail to deal with a late shot from distance, palming it out to Nathan Ake who happily tucked home the rebound to win the game.
As a result, the 23-year-old came in for plenty of flak from pundits and journalists alike, some questioning whether the former Mainz shot-stopper has the quality to be the Reds' first-choice between the sticks.
Klopp: De Gea made mistake similar to Karius' recently
Klopp, asked about his opinion on the matter as he previewed Liverpool's clash with West Ham United in the league this Sunday, said he "heard the criticism" of Karius was "very harsh."
But he refused to blame the 'keeper despite his blunder, adding: "When we [later] analysed the game, I found eight players who could have defended the goal before Loris was involved."
The manager acknowledged that Karius "made a mistake too" but declared that "even the best goalkeepers in the world" are "still" capable of making mistakes, noting that Manchester United's David De Gea - deservedly hailed as one of the best in the world in his position - "made one similar recently."
On what the 'keeper could do, he responded that Liverpool "know we have to deal with pressure" and cited that there is "no perfect recipe for development" but telling a player to 'close your ears' can "help a lot."
Klopp declared that he is "quite good" at helping players to deal with criticism, insisting he has "learned" how to do so throughout his life and hoping that Karius "can adapt" to his "skills."
West Ham to look to target Karius' weaknesses?
The Reds' first-choice 'keeper - who joined from Mainz in a £4.7 million deal in the summer after impressing in the Bundesliga in recent years - will keep his place for the visit of West Ham in the Premier League.
After Bournemouth's Steve Cook suggested Karius was labelled a "weak link" going into last weekend's meeting between the Cherries and Liverpool, much is expected to be asked of the Reds' No.1 by Slaven Bilic's men on L4.
Former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, notably successful in the air, could pose a threat. The England international featured for just the second time this season in West Ham's 5-1 home defeat to Arsenal last Saturday, coming off the bench to score a consolation goal.
The Hammers can also count on the aerial threat of Michail Antonio, who has scored 11 headed goals in the calendar year - a joint-best record in the English top-flight along with former Everton man Tim Cahill.
Karius will therefore hope to prove to his doubters and critics that he is worthy of the backing of his manager, with his contributions in the win over Sunderland - where he made a handful of key saves - seemingly long forgotten.