Loris Karius is set to start in tonight’s UEFA Champions League opener against Sevilla, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Tuesday.
In what has been a very sombre past 48 hours – following a 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City – this piece of news has come as something of a spark in the dark for Liverpool fans, though, not one that has done too much to lift the heavy atmosphere surrounding Anfield.
Karius has made just one start this season, taking over the reigns from Simon Mignolet in his side’s 4-0 thrashing of Liverpool, however, even without being required to make a significant save in that match, the German goalkeeper’s performance brought back haunting memories of past sins that omitted him from Klopp’s starting line-up, while earning himself condemnation from fans and pundits alike.
Even so, this is still the talented youngster who was declared the best goalkeeper behind Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer two seasons ago, a modern day figure that truly elevates what being a goalkeeper meant in the past and that he still remains a key player for his side means Liverpool boss Klopp is well aware of this.
What’s left then is for his fellow countryman to go out onto the pitch and prove it, starting with his side’s big Anfield clash against Sevilla.
Big reminder needed
Alongside a big response to a hugely disappointing weekend by the entire team being on high demand for Wednesday night, a big reminder from Karius of his aforementioned quality wouldn’t go amiss.
The German’s inclusion in the match against the former Europa League champions more or less confirms that teammate Mignolet will be Klopp’s first choice for domestic fixtures, while Karius will be relied on for the Reds’ continental business.
Although it’s different from playing week in, week out in the Premier League and his appearances depend on Liverpool’s progress in the Champions’ League, Karius is still presented with a fine opportunity to showcase his skills, as the competition is so grand and highly revered that every game is considered a big one, and – unless you have the riches and talent of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain – there are rarely any low-pressure affairs.
That said, and with the proverb pressure makes diamonds in mind, the heat will surely be on Karius to keep the Reds out of danger, whilst the ‘keeper looks on in hope that his outfield teammates cause all the danger against their Spanish opponents.
If the 24-year-old succeeds in his duties without much worry, it should be considered a good step in the direction of finally establishing himself as a top goalkeeper for Liverpool.