Loris Karius, at 28-years-old, should be in the prime of his career. But one disastrous performance—after a Sergio Ramos assisted concussion, no less—in the biggest game of club football forever altered the German goalkeeper’s career trajectory.
Karius was quickly replaced by the best goalkeeper in the world in Alisson Becker, and shipped out on loan to rebuild his career, first Turkey, then in Germany. In the latter loan move to Union Berlin, Karius only managed 4 appearances.
The once-promising keeper, who came Liverpool rated as the best German keeper behind one of the all-time greats Manuel Neuer, hasn’t just fallen down the pecking order, he’s dropped off a cliff. And Jurgen Klopp elaborated on the sad situation in his pre-match press conference.
“So, there are different things. One is Loris Karius the player, who is doing absolutely nothing wrong, who is in a really good shape, who is training very hard. He is committed, the goalie coaches are fully committed, that’s clear,” Kloppo explained, trying as always to put a positive spin on a bad situation.
“But before the season we made a decision. Obviously it was in the club’s interest as well that Loris finds a new club, stuff like this. That didn’t happen, so fine. We made a decision: he’ll be treated completely normally absolutely but we have the goalies. As long as we don’t have a massive situation here, our No. 1 is Ali, our No. 2 is Caoimh, No. 3 is Adrian, No. 4 is Marcelo and then there’s already four goalkeepers.”
Fifth choice. Brutal. Regardless of your feelings about Karius, and I’ve long been on record that we should forgive him for that dreadful night, you have to feel at least a little bit sorry for him.
“We were never in a situation where we had to use the fifth one,” Klopp continued.
“It has nothing to do with the quality, we made the decision and the boys do really well obviously. I think everybody is impressed by the development of Caoimhin Kelleher, who is ready for pretty much everything. We all know about the quality of Adrian and the impact he has on training and the dressing room and stuff like this and would always be ready to go. And Marcelo is an incredible talent, an absolutely incredible talent, the next one in line. That’s it.
“But Loris, I wish him only the best and he will find a club whenever – now or in the summer. And then from there he will go on, I’m very sure.”
I’m not so sure, sadly.
Although “body language” is an often overused trope in sports, he simply hasn’t seemed the same since that one night in Kiev. While it’s a big ask for anyone to mentally overcome that one performance (again, while suffering through a concussion!), it seems like he has yet to clear that hurdle, nearly 4 years later.