Back in May when Liverpool lost the Champions League final 3-1 to Real Madrid, it was the end of Loris Karius’ Liverpool career for many fans. Personally, I felt like this was a defining moment in the German’s career, from January to the end of the season he put in pretty decent showings and now it was time to sink or swim.
These types of events are what separates good players from elite players, how he recovered from the final was either going to make him or break him and the early showings is that of a broken man in Liverpool’s goal. So drastic is the situation that Klopp – who was willing to back his compatriot before pre-season – decided to make Ward his short lived number 1 before spending £66 million on Alisson to ensure Liverpool are capable of challenging for the title.
The problem for Loris Karius now is that until Alisson makes his debut, all the spotlight will be on the only senior goalkeeper currently at the club and until all the players come back from international duty Klopp has no choice but to stick with Karius for now.
That spotlight shone brightly once again last night as Karius spilt a shot into the path of a Dortmund player and gave them a 3-1 lead. In terms of mistakes go it isn’t a major one, the ball even took a slight deflection off Klavan, but because it’s Karius making it the goalkeeping brigade come rushing out to put down the goalkeeper. After last night’s game, people even started to point the finger at the manager; calling it poor man management for even allowing Karius to play any part in a pre-season friendly.
To put it bluntly; these people are wrong. As it stands every move Karius makes will be scrutinized, his name generates clicks and that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. He doesn’t help himself either, posting rocky-esque montages on his Instagram page and publicly biting back at the people who badmouth him. All this just generates more heat to be directed towards him and if Klopp was to take him out of the team for these friendlies then its painting a bigger target on his back instead of pulling him out of the firing line.
If Alisson, Ward or Mignolet were around then pulling him out would be the right thing to do. As it stands if Karius was unable to play then the role would be filled by a young goalkeeper like Grabara. If Karius’ confidence hasn’t taken enough of a hit over the past couple months then dropping him for the U23’s goalkeeper would be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The thing about all this shitstorm in the Liverpool fanbase is that ultimately it doesn’t matter, we’ve done what we needed to do, Alisson has been brought in. Everyone is happy because by the time we start playing for points the new goalkeeper will be starting, yes Karius has made another mistake but there’s no significance to it so stop acting like he’s just cost us a European trophy again.
With Ward already out the door I think one more is definitely on their way out, Mignolet was looking for his assurances on his future back in January and that certainly won’t have changed since then. The ideal scenario is that we can convince Mignolet to stay on as the number 2 for one season and get Karius out on loan, in my mind there’s no doubt that Karius is the better goalkeeper out of the two but that the German that we’re currently seeing is horrifyingly low on confidence. He looks a shadow of the man that we purchased from Mainz and I think he needs to go somewhere else for a year just to get out of the rut he is in.
It 100% has to be abroad, the scrutiny from the English media won’t go away and because of that he needs a loan in a similar mind to Joe Hart’s to Torino. Somewhere where he can get away from everything involving Liverpool just for a season and get on with playing his football.
Hopefully, in that time Alisson will come in and be the lord and saviour that everyone has been crying out for. If that’s the case then when Karius would be set to return in 2018/19 Liverpool’s goalkeeping issues will be put to bed, nobody will want to talk about Karius then because he’s the back-up and Liverpool will have a truly world class goalkeeper.
That’s the dream anyway.
Ideally, I would have liked to have had Danny Ward as our second-choice goalkeeper but I can understand why he has left for Leicester; the path to the first team isn’t exactly lined up for him but it’s a lot clearer at Leicester than it is at Liverpool. Grabara also shows promise but is still a couple years off being ready to be a consistent part of the first team set-up.
What Simon Mignolet offers is a short term stop-gap who has already failed to take his chance in the first team but you can get away with handing 10 or so appearances to in a season. It’s a senior figure who is ready to step in should Alisson not live up to expectation but given his role for Belgium he’s not unfamiliar with contributing as the step-in keeper.
Ultimately, whether you love him or loathe him, Loris Karius is still capable of having a future at Liverpool. The signing of Alisson can have the exact same effect that Van Dijk did on his fellow defenders, with just the big Dutchman coming in complaints about Liverpool’s defence were swiftly put to bed and now Lovren – as well as Matip and Klavan when called upon – look all the better for it.
Karius would always be playing second fiddle to the Brazillian but will eventually provide a quality second goalkeeper, modern football teams now tend to have two good goalkeepers in their squad and Karius can fulfil that role.
And just get off the lads back for a bit for god’s sake.
Article by Louis Connor