When Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp made it clear he would be rotating goalkeepers between Premier League and Champions League competitions, a lot of questions were raised by fans and pundits alike. No one, even those (like myself!) who believed in Karius’s long-term potential, predicted he win the job outright and help lead us to a Champions League final this season.
In his pre-match presser, Klopp was asked about Karius’s role in the side.
“He progressed a lot. I’m really happy with his progress. [There is] still a lot to come, I’m sure,” Kloppo said.
“Having games like he had in the last few weeks and months helps; nothing helps you more as a goalkeeper. Having fantastic moments, having rather not-that-good moments, is all part of development.
“He really took the chance that we gave him a few months ago and was a big part of us being more stable in that period. It’s cool.
“There is nothing bad about Simon Mignolet. Both Danny Ward and Simon are in really good shape, both physically and mentally. They push hard, to be honest, and that’s good. The situation on the goalkeeper side is a good one in the moment – all fit, all hard-working. That’s how it should be.
The question then becomes what happens to Mignolet and/or Ward. It seems likely that at least one of them will depart in the summer. Ward, who showed a great deal of potential during his loans, remains a player many fans would like to see more of, but surely lack of playing time this season has stunted his progression.
Klopp also addressed the injury that prevented Karius from taking the starting role at Liverpool right from the off. An injury, incidentally, that happened in a preseason “friendly” against this weekend’s opponent, Chelsea.
“Before [Karius] broke his hand he was in outstanding shape already and was exactly the boy we signed. After that obviously it was a little bit more difficult, that’s true.
“I’ve said before, it was my mistake; I changed [goalkeepers] too early that time and he was then obviously not ready in that moment, physically not ready.
“When a player breaks a leg you know that’s quite a harsh thing. If a goalkeeper breaks his hand it’s similar. And I underestimated that a little bit. It’s long ago, so all good.”
So, Loris, please don’t go trying to punch a ball through Dejan Lovren’s head, again. As Southampton learned, when you’re up against Degsy’s head, there’s only one winner.