Klopp defended Karius from criticism chiefly from the Neville brothers, and James, who experienced a similarly rocky start to his Liverpool career in 1992, believes having such an experienced manager will help the keeper’s cause.
James told Press Association Sport: “I like Karius – I looked at him last season before Liverpool signed him. He’s got a tremendous amount of growth in him and rather than a bad goalie who could be good, I see him as a good goalie who could be great.
“Of course there is an element of pressure on him but Karius has to learn that that is just part of the environment – all eyes are on you because goalkeepers have always been such a great part of the Liverpool tradition.”
Like Karius, James found himself replaced in the starting line-up by veteran Bruce Grobbelaar after a turbulent start to his Anfield career, before going on to establish himself and play 277 games for the club.
He added: “I can empathise with Karius because I have been in a similar position, but he has also got a very vocal and honest manager, which I never had, so he knows exactly where he stands and what he has to do in order not to fail.”
Karius’s replacement Simon Mignolet has also come in for some criticism this season but James believes his recent record since coming back into the side underscores that the goalkeeping situation at Anfield is not as bad as many critics make out.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as people say,” added James. “If you look at the last four games since Mignolet came back, he’s kept three clean sheets and two of the three goals he’s conceded have been penalties.
“My concern prior to Mignolet coming back in was that both goalkeepers were making similar kinds of mistakes, and that makes you wonder if it is something they are picking up on the training field.
“But those mistakes seem to have stopped and Liverpool now have two top-drawer goalkeepers. That is a much better situation than having one great goalkeeper and one who doesn’t feel like he wants to be there. So many clubs don’t have that back-up, so Liverpool are in a privileged position in that respect.”