Liverpool’s preparations for their Premier League title defence next season will be firmly underway as the club look to build on what proved to be a record-breaking campaign for Jurgen Klopp’s English champions.
One area that could come under question this summer is the goalkeeping department when considering adequate replacements for Alisson Becker.
Since the departure of Pepe Reina, Liverpool endured something of a goalkeeping crisis. The Reds suffered at the hands of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius who both failed to cement themselves as long-term reliable options between the sticks.
Karius’ notorious collapse in the 2018 Champions League final meant Liverpool were forced to pay a then-world-record transfer fee to land Alisson who has proved to be one of the club’s all-time transformative signings.
Since that final in Kyiv, Karius left Liverpool to oversee a two-year loan with Turkish outfit Besiktas. However, the German shot-stopper is set to return to his parent club and a potential future on Merseyside at this current point remains ambiguous.
What are the options?
Liverpool’s current understudies to the irreplaceable Alisson are Adrian and Andy Lonergan.
The Express recently claimed that Adrian is yet to make a decision on his future and that the former West Ham goalkeeper could listen to offers in the summer.
He will make an informed decision in the coming weeks following the conclusion of the 2019/20 season and the player could decide to leave the club.
The Spaniard still has an extra year on his contract after this one. While he could see his deal out, the pull of first-team football elsewhere could persuade him to move on early.
This might not necessarily represent a crisis for Liverpool should they lose out and depart with Adrian.
If Adrian decides he wants to leave, then no one could blame him. He’s left his mark on Liverpool this season, particularly with his heroics in the UEFA Super Cup final as well as a selection of PL appearances while deputising for the injured Alisson.
Also, Adrian is 33 and approaching the twilight stages of his career. In that respect, anyone could understand if he wanted to play week in, week out. He’s certainly not going to have that luxury at Liverpool and is unlikely to surpass the achievements of this season.
This could lead to Karius potentially returning as the deputy to Alisson.
After all, this was once a goalkeeper who many in the Bundesliga considered being behind only Manuel Neuer. That’s why Liverpool paid £4.7m to secure his services.
How Karius and Adrian compare
In terms of save percentages, Karius boasted a seven per cent increase in saves compared to Adrian while Karius was between the sticks during the 2017/18 season.
Although this may seem a surprise it’s worth reflecting that both goalkeepers have been culpable of high-profile errors during their Liverpool tenures it’s just that Karius’ unfortunately took place in the biggest match in club football.
Adrian certainly didn’t cover himself in glory following his Champions League performance against Atletico Madrid in March and it was the Spaniard’s shortcomings in goal that ultimately resulted in Liverpool’s elimination from the competition.
With this in mind, why is it fair to rule out Karius entirely when looking at his Liverpool prospects. He is younger, a better shot-stopper and could improve dramatically if paired up with arguably the best goalkeeper on the planet.
Also, Karius himself would benefit more than anyone with a season away from the goalkeeping limelight. It could be a win-win for all parties involved.
Liverpool have to think carefully when analysing their options for next season and while a lot could still happen from now until September, Karius becoming part of Klopp’s 2020/21 plans may not necessarily be an absurd possibility.