After signing for Liverpool as the presumptive new starting goalkeeper last summer, things got off for something of a rocky start for Loris Karius, who after being rated Germany’s second best shot stopper struggled to adjust to the increased physicality of his new league.
It wasn’t a massive surprise, then, when Simon Mignolet retook the starting job. What was more surprising was the way that the Belgian then kept it. So impressive was Mignolet in the second half of 2016-17 season that there is no question who will start the first league game in goal in 2017-18.
Karius, though, is still a young player—and even younger in goalkeeping terms. He arrived a highly rated talent for a reason. He was talked about as Germany’s potential future starting goalkeeper for a reason. And he’s ready to fight his way back into the starting picture at Anfield.
“He did not sign for Liverpool for the short term,” agent Florian Goll told Goal this week when asked about his client’s future. “He believes in the vision of the manager and he wants to be fully fit and prepared to fight for the number one position from the first day back.”
His adjustment to the English game was hurt last season when he broke his hand in pre-season, and when he then was dropped straight into league action, it proved overwhelming at times, with Karius often struggling to cope with the aerial game and a crowded penalty area.
A full pre-season, though, should help with that. And even, if as seems almost certain, Mignolet starts that first league game in August, there’s a chance that Karius will earn starting minutes in Europe. It might seem a stretch to some, but then Karius was the Bundesliga’s second best in 2015-16.
In Europe, too, he would expect to face a slightly less physical and congested penalty area than in the league. Given his talent, and his age, and the possibility that long-term he’s still viewed as Liverpool’s likely goalkeeper for the future by manager Jürgen Klopp, it’s hardly the unlikeliest outcome.
“He wants to be completely ready when pre-season starts,” Goll added. “He is extremely motivated by the competition.”