Ill-advised man-bun aside, Loris Karius remains a prime piece of hunky meat. He takes great pictures with animals, and seems an entirely wholesome sort of person. Tat game strong too. Oh, also, he keeps goal for Liverpool on weekdays sometimes. Whether he is any good at the latter remains the greatest point of contention surrounding the German. It is also the bit that pays his wages.
Arriving from Mainz after a blistering season in the BundesLiga, the former Manchester City youth player was met with divided expectations at his new club. Some saw him as a chisel-jawed usurper immediately prepared to nudge Simon Mignolet off the spiky iron throne that is Liverpool’s #1 spot, while others expected a 23-year old goalkeeper to require at least a few years of grooming before he’d be ready to play week in, week out for a Premier and Champions League contender.
The performances have been about as mixed as the expectations. Occasionally impressive shot stopping and aggressive rushes off his line have been marred by an unseemly save percentage and some less than vocal and commanding displays when dealing with crosses. Nonetheless, he has been Jürgen Klopp’s first choice in this year’s Champions League campaign, spelling Premier League first choice Mignolet. An unconventional solution, perhaps, but also one that allows the young gun to prove himself while waiting for his chance.
That chance seems to have arrived, and Karius was selected for the Reds’ 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, owing to a Mignolet ankle injury. Three claims, a punch, and a point-saving stop from a close-range header added up to a solid performance, and the German is now looking to cement his place long-term.
“I've had the Champions League games but there are not that many so I was happy to get a start here,” the £4.7m signing told the Liverpool Echo. “I wasn't really expecting it but it was nice to play.
“I think I did a decent job against West Brom,” he continued. “The manager has trust in me otherwise he wouldn't have thrown me in.
“I have to show him in training I am ready for the upcoming games and then he is the one who picks. I would prefer to play every single game now so we will just have to wait and see.”
It is unclear whether Simon Mignolet will be back in full training and match-ready in time for the trip to Bournemouth on Sunday, and even if he is, whether Klopp will hand the Belgian his spot back immediately. The fan base will be divided in its preference. Karius will not.