Loris Karius will only get better for Liverpool
In the 2015/16 Bundesliga season, Loris Karius was earning rave reviews for his consistently brilliant performances. Bayern Munich shot-stopper Manuel Neuer was the German top flight's undisputed best but his younger compatriot was also achieving a bit of spotlight with modest Mainz. Karius was a breath of fresh air. Alongside Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, he led a new breed of young custodians who will guard Die Mannschaft's future.
Virtually unknown in the Premier League, he joined Liverpool in May, 2016 for a reported £4.7 million. Jurgen Klopp had been keeping tabs on his progress ever since he broke into the Mainz team. The German tactician felt his countryman would be a long-term solution to the goalkeeping crisis at the Anfield club. Simon Mignolet, the previous Reds number 1, was too erratic. The Belgian cost the Merseysiders valuable points.
However, it didn’t go to script for Karius. Just like David De Gea, who struggled in his first season in the Premier League when he found it hard to cope with the physicality, Karius lost confidence not for a lack of ability, but because of the increased scrutiny.The pressure and expectations of being Liverpool number 1 overwhelmed him. He made countless errors and displayed none of the quality that convinced the Reds to go all out for his services.
The Spaniard is now the undisputed best in the division, a target to which Karius can aspire. It became a running battle between him and Mignolet for the number one jersey. Karius finally won out this term. At the beginning of the campaign, he was billed as the cup goalkeeper. Mignolet was preferred in the league.
Jurgen Klopp needed a stable number 1, though, to build a team capable of challenging for the major titles. Mignolet was proving he wasn't that player. Klopp turned to Karius. Virgil Van Dijk's arrival improved the Reds defence markedly, but inasmuch as the former Southampton man has made a difference, Karius has been brilliant as well. The errors are gone; his distribution is better; he has grown into his role as club number one. Klopp is now assured things will run smoothly at the back.
Karius has been brilliant since the turn of the year, making truly magnificent saves. In the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, he made a brilliant finger-tip save from Yannick Bolasie that helped Liverpool take a positive result from the game.
Jurgen Klopp is building something special at the club. Going forward, Liverpool look like perennial contenders for all available trophies.
The Reds face Roma in the Champions League semi-final tonight. Karius will be between the sticks. The Giallorossi have shown they can hang with any club in Europe. Against Barcelona, they solved La Liga's second-best defence and humiliated Karius' fellow German, Ter Stegen.
The Merseysiders will be hard put to keep Roma in check. Karius must be at his best for Liverpool to progress. If he can pass the test, he will have come into his own at Anfield and will only get better.