Loris Karius is currently cutting a very lonely figure in the Liverpool goal. Bereft of confidence, humiliated on the biggest possible stage, and now replaced in a very public manner, it must be a very dark place that his mind currently occupies.
The German is still only a young man in the grand scheme of things and the club owes him a duty of care to see him through this period of his career. His performance yesterday against Dortmund and a couple of weeks ago against Tranmere shows that his head is not currently right.
The question that remains now is how do Liverpool proceed with Klopp’s plan to rehabilitate the stricken ‘keeper?
Cup games are normally a chance for rotation and offer backup keepers a fair shot at some game time. Manchester City, Spurs and Arsenal have all got fully fledged cup tournament goalkeepers and have enjoyed varying degrees of succes.
For Liverpool though, their last major tournament win came in 2012 and the pressure is now huge on this current crop to at least win something.
Goalkeepers have cost Liverpool in of the three finals experienced under Klopp thus far. Mingolet was also at his woeful best against West Brom when, as usual, the Belgian failed to get us out of jail with any of the goals conceded against a poor Baggies side.
The pressure in the cups this year will be huge and unlikely to offer Karius any refuge. We need to be winning them and with Karius so short of confidence, you wouldn’t be happy to see him thrown in the domestic cup ties on current form.
The under 23s may be a better shout for the immediate future, if for nothing other than giving the German a smattering of confidence in a less pressured environment.
A loan move may also pay off long term. However football is a cruel game and even if he were to go abroad, the ridicule for his Kiev nightmare would be unlikely to deminish anytime soon.
In 2001, Sander Westerveld was replaced by Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland after the Dutchman had made a blunder too many. It was heavy handed but the correct thing to do.
Liverpool currently have a number one in Alisson but nothing in reserve. Perhaps there is a reasonably experienced veteran keeper out there available for a decent price who could come in and offer deputyship for this coming season.
This would also allow Karius to go on loan and have a chance to get over his current tribulations. Again it seems an extreme approach, but one which may suit the club short term.
Cruel to be kind
For now, his first team days are numbered. Liverpool must be ruthless and keep Karius away from the first team, for his own sake as much as anything else. The lad’s mental health is at stake and time away from the first team will aide his rehabilitation.
In all honesty, if he were to have emerged Scott free from the Champions League Final, there would still be question marks about his future role at the club.
He has often looked unconvincing between the sticks and would have struggled for game time at any other top six club.
The question, and priority for Liverpool now should be on his rehabilitation. The German should still have a decent career ahead of him. Just two years ago he was regarded as the second best keeper in the German top flight. He could still offer something, but where that will be, depends on his ability to overcome this huge career setback.