As the champagne flowed freely in Madrid, so did the tears on Merseyside following Liverpool’s dramatic loss to the Spanish giants in last week’s Champions League Final. No one cried more though than Loris Karius.
Though Liverpool fans will be sore and bitterly disappointed, they will forget. As have many millions of fans of every team on the dawn of a heartbreak. The wounds will heal, aided by the distraction of a World Cup, transfer talk and the oncoming new season. But not for Loris Karius.
Will Karius Face the Kop Again?
The first cut is the deepest
Having suffered the first disaster, the poor throw resulting in the first Madrid goal, Liverpool’s equaliser should have neutralised the acid. However, first the scissor-kick goal then getting his hands to Bale’s third effort sealed his fate. Clearly, his confidence was shot after the first.
When you consider that most players make a mistake or two during a game, being the goalkeeper, the err is magnified. Ergo, the difference between winning or losing. How he copes now could determine his entire career.
As the jokes, mocked-up posters, GIF’s, and taunts repeat themselves until committed to memory, Loris Karius must sustain the double blow. Not only will he be racked with his own disappointment and guilt, his confidence will surely hit an all-time low. Death-threats have even befallen himself and his family. Incredible considering these abusers are ’fans’.
Will he walk alone?
He can’t delete the moments on permanent instant replay inside his head. This could seriously affect his form and his career. His teammates will forgive him, eventually so will fans. However, can he forgive himself? He should, as those same team ’mates’ left him lying face down and alone in his area at the whistle. Ironically, Gareth Bale was one of the first to console shell-shocked Karius. Perhaps the issue will become can he forgive them? Whether gets the opportunity to recover his form, favour and confidence remains to be seen.
Karius is not the first keeper to suffer this way, and certainly won’t be the last. With the advent of social media, cruelty isn’t limited to the stadium. Even the winning players shamelessly took to Twitter to mock the Liverpool stopper. They may regret this, as the FA did when apologising for their mockery of Harry Kane and the goal he claimed over teammate Christian Eriksen. Liverpool fan’s behaviour surrounding Karius has been widely criticised.
Is Karius broken like Hart?
Will he now be shunned by Liverpool? Seems incredulous, but you only have to look as far as Joe Hart for an example of what a high-profile failure can do to a goalkeeper. Ousted by Manchester City following a poor showing in the 2016 European to Torino on loan, and then on to West Ham.
Former Spurs and England ’keeper Paul Robinson suffered a similar fate in 2008, sidelined following mistakes in the 2008 World Cup and a new manager.
Robinson has spoken publicly of his heartbreak following both the World Cup error, coupled with the snub he received from his club Tottenham. After his arrival at Blackburn, he claimed he was forced to quit after being snubbed by new manager Juande Ramos. He told Mirror Sport at the time;
”It’s a relief to be out of there. It’s nice to be wanted again. It was tough, and when you have a dip in form, you need the people around you to believe in you.” He added poignantly considering the Karius incident; ”Things happen in football. People have different opinions you either fit into people’s plans, or you don’t.”
It is fair to say that Robinson never recovered his form after leaving Spurs, or indeed Joe Hart. Though the surprising report of his possible move to Manchester United may rectify that.
Karius hasn’t had an easy ride at Anfield. His early days seeing him face criticism after replacing failing Simon Mignolet last autumn. The Frenchman will likely exit Anfield in the summer.
Klopp ”He is a fantastic boy”
It would seem therefore that goalkeeper crime at that level can lead to a career death sentence. The Reds will be left needing two goalkeepers if Karius is shown the door. Rumours of interest in Roma’s Alisson and Milan shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma are already circulating.
Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his sympathy for the German and his ’obvious mistakes’ He added; ”What can I say? Loris knows it, everybody knows it. It’s a shame in a game like this and after a season like this. I really feel for him. He’s a fantastic boy.”
Though Klopp undoubtedly feels for his player, he proved with Mignolet that he isn’t afraid of a change of the number one ’keeper. Karius may not get the chance to convince the Kop it was just a bad day at the office. If he doesn’t, he may face an uphill struggle to rediscover the player he was.