It was meant to be a glorious occassion for Loris Karius in Kiev.
After all, the German had been on an upward trajectory ever since he was installed as Klopp’s No 1. To cap off 4 months of progress at the biggest stage in European football seemed picture perfect. Even though he had his shaky moments, most would agree that he deserves to be No 1 for the following campaign.
All that change in a space of 45 minutes.
A pair of blunders – a gift wrapped goal for Benzema followed by mishandling Bale’s speculative shot – proved to be Liverpool’s undoing. The former Mainz man was inconsolable at the final whistle, and sought forgiveness from the travelling fans. He knows, as everyone does, that he’d cost Liverpool a potential trophy.
Loris Karius on Instagram
While the crowd were forgiving of him, there are certainly question marks over his suitability to be Liverpool’s long term No 1. There is no doubt that he is an upgrade over former No 1 Simon Mignolet but in terms of reliability, there are eerily similar problems. That he has 10 clean sheets from 19 Premier League appearances, and a further 6 clean sheets from 11 Champions League outing doesn’t change the fact that he made 2 catastrophic mistakes in a massive game.
Even though Henderson insisted that Karius wasn’t to be blamed since “it’s not about one person, it’s about everybody”, everyone knows otherwise. The hardwork the squad had put in were of little use, with the Liverpool players “done by two individual mistakes”, as Gerrard would’ve attested.
With the responsibility laid squarely on the German’s shoulder, what does the future now hold for him?
To recover from such a devastating blow is really, really hard for anyone, let alone a professional footballer in today’s game. Karius will have to live the rest of his life knowing that he ruined millions of dreams worldwide, and there’s nothing else he can do about it. But will he be able to move on? To do so would be an absolute test of mental strength, and it’s doubtful whether he’s able to achieve that.
Goalkeeping had been one of Klopp’s agenda for the summer, but Karius calamitous showing in the final made it a top priority. This is due to the fact that Klopp paid the ultimate price for putting his trust in his fellow countryman. Already, there are rumours that Klopp will re-visit Roma’s Alisson despite the £60 million price tag. Klopp’s comments on Karius during the post match conference didn’t provide much reassurance either, with him having “only very, very few words after the game” as “the mistakes were obvious”. Clearly, the future doesn’t look optimistic for Karius.
“At a human level you have to feel for Loris Karius,” said Lampard, and he’s absolutely right. At this moment, Karius deserves all the support we fans have to offer. It breaks the heart of every true fan to see one of our own going through such pain.
However deep down, it’s difficult to see Karius regaining his manager’s trust. After all, “mistakes like that don’t belong at this level” as Lampard later added. The harsh reality is that Karius’ Liverpool career looks to be finished as soon as it has started. Liverpool need a solid keeper, not one prone in making mistakes. Rafa Benitez chose to move on Jerzy Dudek after the 2005 Champions League final, and that proved to be a master stroke in the form of a certain Pepe Reina. Klopp may choose to follow suit, and it’s about time that the problem is resolved once and for all.
Dear Karius, I really do hope you can bounce back from this. But as cruel as it may be, it sadly looks like I’ve watched you play your last game as Liverpool’s No 1.