Opinion: Why Hugo Lloris should still be considered one of the top 5 keepers in the world

Image: SpursWeb

Since joining in 2012, Hugo Lloris has been one of Tottenham Hotspurs’ most loyal and dedicated servants for almost a decade.

The 34-year-old World Cup-winning captain has spent nearly 9 years in-between the sticks during his time at the club. Throughout his reign in North London, the Frenchman has featured a colossal 279 times, keeping 99 clean sheets (TransferMrkt).

Throughout this article, we will look to consider whether Hugo Lloris deserves more recognition amongst the best keepers in the world.

Often, Lloris has come under fire for his rash decisions and poor judgement (BBC SPORT). Indeed, he has cost Spurs a sum of points through a total of 19 individual errors leading to goals (Premier League).

An example that springs to mind is the match against Southampton. Many may remember when he tried Cruyff turn Danny Ings, resulting in him being tackled into his own net  (SPORTBible).

A much more recent example comes in the form of last night when Hugo palmed the ball straight to an onrushing Alexander-Arnold, as well as getting mixed up with Dier for Firmino’s opener.

However, despite a number of errors, we must remember that being a keeper results in constant scrutiny. Each and every tiny mistake will be analysed, especially when you are playing at an elite level.

We need only look at the case of David De Gea, who has made 8 errors leading to goals in the last 5 seasons (90Min). Whilst he faces criticism, many still consider him one of the best in the world.

Whilst Lloris has often been criticised, some of the most popular outlets have also heaped praise onto Tottenham’s number one (Sky Sports).

In contrast to Lloris having cost Spurs points over the years, he has increasingly preserved and gained us points too. Interestingly, his overall save percentage throughout his 9 seasons at the club is 72.2% (Fbref). This is an impressive return.

As well as this, so far during the 20/21 season, Lloris has recorded an impressive 79.5% save percentage. This is the second-highest of any goalkeeper in the Premier League who have played in at least 5 matches (Fbref).

Continuously, Lloris has only made 4 errors leading to goals in the entirety of the last three seasons, one of the lowest returns for a goalkeeper (Premier League).

The above stats suggest that Lloris is one of the best keepers in the top division of English football, but what about in comparison to the rest of Europe?

Well, if we compare Lloris’ save percentage to that of other elite keepers in the world, the results may surprise you.

Manuel Neuer has been considered by many to be one of the world’s best keepers in recent years. However, during the 20/21 season, he has recorded a mere 66.2% save percentage (Fbref).

Jan Oblak pens in an 86.5% save percentage this season. This promotes him statistically as the most consistent and arguably best goalkeeper in the world (Fbref).

The media’s favourite, Alisson Becker, clocks in at 76.6%, lower than ‘error-prone’ Lloris. (Fbref)

Having considered these statistics, the evidence suggests that Hugo Lloris easily ranks among the top five goalkeepers in the world.

Of course, some of his accolades will be outweighed by his mistakes. Having said this, it is seemingly difficult to scrutinise him when he returns such impressive numbers.

The argument often presented by some Spurs fans is that Lloris is extremely underrated. Evidence suggests that it is hard to disagree with this.

Rival fans and pundits alike will always look for any mistake made on a football pitch, especially considering goalkeeper errors are usually the most costly.

Whilst this is the case, it would be difficult for fans to criticise Lloris too much this season. He seems to have cut out silly mistakes from his game, with the match against Liverpool being his only poor display in recent memory.

Additionally has improved other areas of his game that were perhaps lacking in quality (yes, his kicking).

It is naïve to suggest that Lloris is at the top of the chain when it comes to elite goalkeepers. However, a combination of statistics and having watched the Spurs captain on a regular basis for the last nine years has drawn me to the conclusion that he should be considered in the top five keepers in the world.

Based on my research, I present the following rankings for goalkeepers (currently).

Jan Oblak, Manuel Neuer, Alisson Becker, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Hugo Lloris.

Whilst many may not agree with this, they cannot deny that Lloris has certainly warranted his plaudits. Because of this, I find myself puzzled as to why so many do not include the skipper in even their top 10 rankings, let alone the top 5.

The main take from this is that Hugo Lloris deserves more recognition than he gets. It is clear that he provides sound and more reliable protection to the team than he used to.

As well as this, research suggests that it may finally be time for people to awaken to the fact that he is very much one of the world’s best.

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