Whatever Happened to Loris Karius?

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Liverpool seem likely to let former number one keeper Loris Karius leave the club on a free transfer in January, so we look back at the career of the German shot-stopper.

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius

Loris Karius. The name may ring a faint bell for casual football fans, but Liverpool supporters will recognize it immediately, probably accompanied by a grimace. For the rest of you, let’s take a quick refresher course.

Karius was born in a town called Biberach, in Southern Germany, in 1993. The young goalkeeper quickly rose through the ranks in various local teams before signing for VfB Stuttgart at the tender age of 12. While playing in an under-16 tournament for Germany he attracted the attention of Manchester City scouts, and moved to England in 2009.

Despite appearing for underage sides over the course of his two years in Manchester, Loris never broke into the first team, and returned to his home country to play for Mainz. His first-team debut for Mainz occurred on the 1st of December 2012, when he came on as a sub after the original keeper was sent off, in the process becoming the youngest goalkeeper to ever play in the Bundesliga. In the 2015-16 Bundesliga season he was voted second-best keeper in the league, only behind the great Manuel Neuer.          

Liverpool had noticed the rise of this young ‘keeper, and in May 2016 he signed a 5-year contract to play for the Reds. He would go on to enjoy his share of good moments wearing the colours of Liverpool, as you can see:

All in all it was quite a meteoric rise, as I am sure you will agree. However, sadly for Loris, in this part of the world he is remembered not for any of these achievements, but for what happened in the city of Kiev on the 26th of May, 2018.

A Night to Remember (or Forget)

This was the night of the Champions League Final. Liverpool were facing Real Madrid and the game would become a career-defining one for the blonde German goalkeeper. But not in the way he would have wished. Liverpool lost the game by three goals to one, and two of those goals were directly attributable to Karius. For the first, Karius attempted to throw the ball to a defender, but somehow managed to underarm it into the leg of Madrid striker Karim Benzema and the ball rolled into the net.

The third goal was also down to a goalkeeping error, as the German inexplicably allowed a looping long-range shot from Gareth Bale to slip through his hands. (In between Bale also scored one of the greatest goals in Champions League history, so we will give Loris a pass for that one).

Here are the match highlights, in case you want to relive that eventful evening once again:

In defence of Karius, he had just sustained an elbow to the head from the redoubtable Sergio Ramos, with doctors later confirming that he had suffered a concussion. Manager Klopp stated his belief that this was “100% the explanation” for the mistakes, but that didn’t stop him from breaking the world record transfer fee for a keeper in the off-season when they landed Alisson for £56 million. Loris would never play for Liverpool again.

Where is Karius Now?

The arrival of Alisson marked the end of Karius’ spell as Liverpool’s number one, and in August of 2018 he was shipped off to Turkish side Besitkas on loan. Despite performing well for the team, he cut ties with them in 2020 due to their not paying him four months-worth of outstanding wages. Germany was calling once again, and on the 28th of September 2020 Karius went on loan to Union Berlin. The Berlin team performed well in the early stages of the Bundesliga, well in the hunt for European spots. However, Karius has not played a significant role in the early stages of the season, which he spent sitting on the bench and watching 33-year-old Andreas Luthe play every minute of every game in between the posts.

Karius has seen more action recently, starting three games in February 2021 when a combination of personal issues and injuries meant that Luthe was unavailable. During this three-match spell Loris conceded just one goal, although he was subsequently dropped back to the bench once Luthe became available for selection again. In total over the course of the season Karius was involved in 5 games, keeping 3 clean sheets and conceding four goals.

Loris is still technically a Liverpool player, as his contract runs until June 30th in 2022. His loan deal with Berlin having finished on June 30th ’21, Karius has been shipped back to Anfield. But what comes next? Anything is possible, and we hope that Loris will go on to achieve great things on the football pitch – he is still young for a ‘keeper, after all – but until then, he will be remembered for that one tear-sodden night in Kiev.

The latest news suggested that Liverpool were trying to get a deal done for Loris to leave the club, but nothing could be arranged in the 2021 summer transfer window. Now it looks that they will let their unwanted keeper leave on a free in January so as to take his salary off the wage bill at Anfield.

Until then, for the beginning of the 2021/22 season Karius remains a Liverpool player, albeit one with almost zero chance of making an appearance on the pitch, as he is effectively 5th-choice keeper behind Alisson, Adrian, Caoimhin Kelleher and youngster Marcelo Pitaluga.

Ross O’Connor is an experienced sports writer with a particular interest in the NFL, pro boxing and football. He has written for numerous online and print publications on sports and a variety of other topics.

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