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What next for Liverpool’s Loris Karius?

Ben Winfield
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:55 IST

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final
Karius was responsible for two errors in the Champions League final

It has been a tough few months for Loris Karius. It wasn’t long ago that he was an important player for Liverpool, having established himself as the number one goalkeeper ahead of Simon Mignolet. However, after a disastrous performance in the Champions League final, there are questions over his future, and doubts over his ability.

There were high hopes for Karius when he made the move to Anfield in 2016. He had just come off the back of an impressive final season with Mainz in the Bundesliga, for which he was voted the second best ‘keeper in the league after Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer. 

Despite being given the number one shirt, he wasn’t initially picked in Liverpool’s side, due to missing the opening few weeks of the season through injury. It took until September 24 for him to make his debut, and following a 0-0 draw with Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp confirmed Karius was his first choice ‘keeper.

Things all went wrong in December though, and after high profile errors against Bournemouth, allowing Nathan Ake to score a last minute winner, and West Ham, where he failed to keep out a Dimitri Payet free kick, he was dropped, and didn’t appear in the league side again all season. 

He finally got himself back into the team earlier this year, taking advantage of some poor displays by Mignolet, and cementing a place in the side. He became a key player for Liverpool in the final six months of the season, playing an important role in helping secure a place in the top four of the league, as well as making the Champions League final for the first time since 2007.

However, doubts were raised yet again in the Champions League final. He was at fault for the opening goal, throwing the ball against Karim Benzema, which bounced back into the net. Things got even worse later on, when he dropped a routine long-range effort from Gareth Bale over the line, pretty much securing victory for Real. It was claimed in the following weeks that he was suffering from concussion in the second half, but he still took a lot of criticism for his mistakes.

Thoughts immediately turned to what Liverpool would do in the future, and despite the suggestions that Klopp would keep faith with the 25-year-old, the Reds splashed the cash, breaking the world record fee for a goalkeeper to sign Alisson from Roma. This is a game changer for Karius, as there is no chance Klopp will leave a record-signing goalkeeper on the bench, so the German will be a cup keeper at best. 

Liverpool v A.S. Roma - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One
Liverpool have spent big on Alisson this summer

This wouldn’t be a good career move for Karius. Given the Champions League final, and his subsequent poor performances in pre-season, he needs a new start. However harsh it is, his head is in completely the wrong place at the moment, and he needs to get away from Anfield, whether that be permanently or on loan. 

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He needs a change of scenery, and a chance to get away from it all. He is a good goalkeeper, but his recent form means his confidence is at rock bottom, and he needs a chance to regain that belief again. There is a chance that he has to move abroad in a way to escape from the scrutiny of the English media, and perhaps a move back to Germany will suit him. 

What is certain though is that he can’t just have another season on the bench at Anfield. He has to be playing football somewhere, in an attempt to banish the memories of his recent form, both in his own mind, and the mind of the media. 

Obviously, where he ends up isn’t entirely down to him. Given that there are also rumours regarding the future of Simon Mignolet, Klopp may not be prepared to lose two of his senior goalkeepers, because he will want an experienced back up option available to him.

Published 25 Jul 2018, 06:57 IST
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