Loris Karius wasn’t the first ever goalkeeper to make more than one immense error in a high profile match, and he won’t be the last. Which is not to say that those errors weren’t catastrophic for Liverpool last night - they certainly were. But it seems pointless at this stage to litigate his performance in the Champions League final. There are bigger questions around Karius’ future with the club and the future of his career.
One of Karius’ goalkeeping heroes - Bayern Munich legend Oliver Kahn - expressed concern over the Liverpool keeper’s state of mind following last night’s collapse when speaking to German broadcaster ZDF, particularly after seeing a tearful Karius apologizing to the away fans.
“I’m lost for words,” said Kahn. “I can’t remember having experienced something more brutal from a goalkeeping point of view than in this final. An evening like this can destroy a career.”
Manager Jürgen Klopp refused to hang his keeper out to dry with any definitive statements over Karius’ future at Anfield, and club captain Jordan Henderson likewise tried to deflect focus away from the goalkeeper position in the moments following the match. There had been some grumblings about how his teammates seemed reluctant to console Karius on the pitch after the final whistle, but this was apparently not the case.
“An evening like this” shouldn’t destroy Karius’ career. It will of course be a distasteful memory for him, but it shouldn’t be some toxic specter that clings to everything he does. And unfortunately, one of things that lends credence to Kahn’s words is the modern non-stop media circus - including this story - that attaches itself to professional football.
There is definitely a question about whether Karius can be a viable No. 1 keeper for Liverpool going forward - the club needs some solidity at that position and it will be herculean task to reassemble his confidence after last night. AS Roma’s Alisson will once again seem like a necessity to many (perhaps not to the manager), which will be music to the Italian club’s ears. But none of that should mean that Karius can’t go on to have a career he can be proud of.