THE hardest thing to take about the final was that it seems to be a wasted opportunity.
We’ll never know if our starting 11 would be good enough to claim the European crown. We’ll never know what we could have done had the game ended at 1-1 and gone into extra time. A twisted arm, a moment of madness and a kerfuffle of hands took that all away from us. Now, Madrid have the cup and we have the unsatisfying solace of what ifs. Talk about frustration.
A few days later, the emotions don’t seem to be any clearer. There’s the overwhelming sense of pride that we got there in the first place, along with the sadness at the result, combined with the hope that it should kick us on to better years. All those different feelings still mingle in the aftermath of that one game. If there’s a quantum state of a glorious yet somehow downbeat optimism, then this is it.
There’s emotion in the way Loris Karius has been treated too. First fury then perspective.
The blood was already up when Gareth Bale pulled back his foot with the score at 2-1. Their first goal was such a nonsense that there was already a thick sense of injustice in the air. Then they scored an impossible one. That seemed too much.
At 2-1, Madrid had begun to slow the game down and take the ball as deep into the Liverpool half as possible. With few options available to him, as well as a sense of “well, I’ve already scored one brilliant goal so you never know,” Gareth Bale made the Liverpool ‘keeper’s night even worse. The German didn’t know whether to punch it, catch it or pat it down to safety. In the end, he performed some sort of Kung Fu move with his hands in front of his face and the tournament was over. It ended an awful night for both him and The Reds.
I remained silent in disbelief for his first rick. Sometimes you just have to stare and wonder if everyone else has witnessed what you have. I mutely watched the bizarre protest from a handful of players and, realising that it was fruitless, hoped the referee would disallow it purely on the grounds that it was just so mad, so stupid. I was much more vocal on the third goal.
I can’t recall it word for word, but my invective involved Karius’s future at the club, his intellect, parentage, lack of “minerals” and, I think, his silly hair – all of which was delivered in about a quarter of a second. I’ve no doubt that yours was the same, unless it too was characterised by silence in the face of seeing lightning strike twice.
But in the heat of that battle there were other things to be angry about. Seriously, where to begin? There was Sergio Ramos’s wrestling challenge on Mo Salah, Sergio Ramos’s attack on Karius, Sergio Ramos’s dive to get Sadio Mane booked or Sergio Ramos’s smug, winking and arrogant satisfaction at his own gobshitery. If only there was a common theme.
Opinion is divided on Ramos now that the game is done and dusted. Liverpool had enough players versed in the darks arts in our heyday, so it seems hypocritical to point a finger now. Older readers may remember Steve McMahon elbowing Paul Gascoigne in the face at White Hart Lane and then winking at the bench. Gascoigne was Spurs’ best player by a mile and didn’t make a peep for the rest of the game. At the time, I thought that was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. We’re all hypocrites.
Maybe it’s our niceness which stops us from getting over the line at finals and we should follow example. I’m not sure. I just hope that Ramos gets wellied all over the place at the World Cup, and not necessarily just on the pitch.
Come full time, our lads were on their haunches all over the pitch. None of them deserved to lose a final like that, not after the heroics they’d performed over the past few months. This is still a thin squad and to go so close through a fug of physical and mental strain was unfair. Had they had even a little bit of luck go their way then we might be talking about a whole new chapter in our history.
Of course, all eyes were on the ‘keeper. He knew what he’d done. He couldn’t point the finger anywhere other than at his own chest. Not the referee, not the opposition, not the lads in front of him. It was all on him. He’d given them the game and it hurt.
I’m not a Karius fan. I think, like Simon Mignolet, he can be alright at times. That’s it. Nothing special, nothing spectacular. Just alright. But not terrible either. The sort of goalkeeper who can help Liverpool get to the European Cup final, but always liable to balls it up. Not bad, but nothing like good enough for the club.
His manager clearly thinks otherwise. He believes in him and it was telling that those who abused Karius on various social media were keen to point out their love of his boss. “In Jürgen Klopp we trust.” Indeed we do. Klopp also trusts Karius. He picks him regularly. If you love one you have to accept his judgment on the other.
Karius may well have shat it in the second half, but I’m not sure I could do the same and then face the very people he let down. When I make a mistake at work (a twice-weekly occurrence), I do it in front of a team of four. I send an email and apologise, safe in the knowledge that they know I mean well and am a bit thick. We accept it and move on.
For Karius it was different. He made two mistakes in front of an audience of roughly half a billion, including his own supporters who had spent huge amounts of money to get to the ground. Many would have run to the dressing room or covered their head with a towel. He didn’t do that. He walked to the fans gathered behind the goal, tears streaming down his face and offered the palms of his hands in a conciliatory and apologetic gesture. I’m not sure I could have done the same.
That doesn’t make things any better or easier, obviously, but I respect that. There’s a difference between apologising – which is what that was – and seeking sympathy – which it wasn’t.
Many think that that will be the end of Karius’s Liverpool career but I wouldn’t be so sure. Klopp constantly reminds us that his squad are human and therefore capable of human errors. Karius was in the side that got us through those rounds and no one doubted that he would play in the final. Klopp believes in redemption and giving the individual the chance to make amends. Even Mamadou Sakho had three strikes.
With Mignolet looking at options it seems likely that Karius will be here next season, though probably down the pecking order. Maybe he’ll play in League Cup and FA Cup games.
No one wants to see a man’s career in ruins. Sure, at the time, but not when things are calmer. After all, Karius was one of those lads who got us there in the first place. Let’s remember that.
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This game highlighted weaknesses that we were all aware of. The drop in intensity, quality and fear within opposing defenders when Salah leaves the pitch and the fact we have two error prone keepers.
The good news is that both areas can be addressed. Klopp backed Karius after January because he had to back one of them. I think even Klopp’s loyalty will be tested – he gave clown shoes Moreno a chance post Basel -if it wasn’t for Moreno’s injury Robertson may still be on the bench.
As for the final, to lose in that manner is hard to take BUT also easier to reconcile with time (for me anyway) we weren’t outclassed or comprehensively beaten – the Salah assault and 2 mistakes was the difference. It’s the not knowing IF we could’ve won that’s frustrating.
Karl, pace yourself. You’re already assuming Karius wil be no2 next season. First of all, he has way too much potential and skill to be a 2nd choice goalkeeper. He would be no1 at many good clubs.
Secondly, Klopp has to make the call. He will go out for another goalkeeper anyway but will it be the big signing? I highly doubt that. My hunch is, Karius will be no1 next season and he will be stronger than ever.
We need a genuine sweeper keeper who releases the ball quickly to start attacks and also be the 11th outfield player in a high-line defence. Those type of keepers are very rare. That Oblak is NOT a sweeper keeper. He plays for a defensive side. A high line is foreign language to Atletico.
He is not the solution.
Alisson’s price will sky-rocket after the WC: No way that FSG willl fork out that money. We are already going after Fekir for a large amount.
I think Jurgen has so far had a blind spot with goalkeepers but thankfully the owners (who don’t know anything about football) were at the final and after watching that fiasco of a performance will most definitely be telling him he needs a new one and can have the money if we are to win trophies in future
“Klopp has a blind spot with left back” – buys Robertson.
“Klopp has a blind spot with the centre of defence” – buys VVD.
“Klopp has a blind spot with goalkeepers” – again, really?
I think a lot of fans have a blind spot with Klopp and what he is trying to build in a way that also promotes togetherness in the squad. A leader needs to show he trusts his team in order to gain their trust. Trust is a gift that Klopp has given to Karius since January, and the end of the season was always going to be the right time to review that decision, regardless of whether we reached a European cup final.
Klopp’s shown he can be ruthless when necessary, let’s give him the chance to make the right decision for the squad again before we start talking about blind spots.
Saying that though, if we haven’t bought a new keeper by 1st August I’ll be agreeing with you!
when fans say a manager has a blind spot what they actually mean is he isn’t doing what they want him to do, as though the fans are seeing so much stuff that the manager, his analysts, scouts and staff simply aren’t picking up on.
A bity silly really.
Does Klopp trust Karius? I can’t see any evidence of that. He gave him a chance then binned him. It was only another unbelievable couple of weeks for Mignolet that saw him re-emerge. You can say what about Ward etc, but Klopp simply had no choice but to play Karius. A message had to be sent to Mignolet that he has to move on. I don’t think Klopp trusts Karius and we’ll see confirmation of that in the summer.
Klopp will sort this out, after all he picked Karius didn’t he? Blaming Karius is to blame Klopp as well for his selection and sticking with him. Karius did not fill me with confidence when he joined, but some of his improvements like Lovren’s and TAA gave me hope that we could push on.
With Lovren, Moreno, Karius it is playing Russian roulette. So something needs to stop, and maybe Klopp and his staff can figure that out this summer.
Perhaps Klopp will give Karius a choice – “ditch the Instagram modeling and focus on his development or move on.”
Frankly I think we need someone who has already developed between the sticks. That’s just my opinion. VVD might prove this point, but then you see TAA and Robertson, and recently improved Lovren and it seems it could go either way.
Unlike other positions, we can’t have more than one goalkeeper on the field, so it’s tougher to say Karius should be given the 1st choice next season, or just go out buy an experienced keeper. We can’t see them play the same game to tell.
I think for Karius’s mental health, he should be kept out of the spotlight. So buy a top keeper, that FSG are willing to allow Klopp to spend on, and give Karius time in the mickey mouse cup matches.
The fucking media will have less nonsense to go about, and maybe less pressure from supporters, and gives Klopp options.
I don’t ever want to see such a vast gulf in quality on the bench in crucial times again, or at least under Klopp.
Karius should never play for the club again.
He was bang average before and always had a huge mistake in his repertoire.
Surely Klopp has seen enough from the guy to jettison any lingering trust he had?
I recall Houllier binning Westerveld after letting a soft goal in against Bolton. This was just a few months afte we won the treble. I expect the same ruthlessness from Klopp.
Nothing personal, Pierre, but there is just something about people using the term “bang average” that makes me dismiss anything else that is said. I know from past posts that you are quite reasonable and intelligent, but over the past few years the term seems to emanate solely from social media meatheads, jingoists, etc. (i.e. people who see things only in extremes and regard nuance and context with the deepest of suspicion). Again, noting to do with you!
We keep on buying midfielders but haven’t yet sorted out that key position – winger – in case of injuries/suspensions.
For me when Salah went off, to be replaced by Lallana, that was good night for Liverpool. We need someone super quick & can play both flanks.
He doesn’t necessarily have to be at the level of Mane/Salah but he can at least maintain the formation and pose the same threat.
isn’t this Fekir? Can play any of the 3 along the front line and also no 10
I’d suggest Fekir was bought mostly as a an attacking midfielder who can occasionally play wide in the front 3 when really really needed.
I’d imagine we’re gonna bring in another wide attacker such as Pulisic or Dembele, a young player still to develop fully who may not be first choice every week initially.
In the aftermath of the final one of the things my mates and I inevitably spoke about with the ability of hindsight was whether or not Mignolet would have made those mistakes. Of course given we were all absolutely devastated and angry after the final, we all suggested that there’s no way Mignolet would have made those errors. And then of course reality actually hit us and we realised this was nonsense.
22nd of December 2017. We’re at the Emirates to play Arsenal. We’re 2-0 up and cruising. They pull one back and we’re under building pressure and momentum from Arsenal. It’s 2-1 and we just need to kill the game for ten/fifteen minutes. Then of course we all know what happens. Xhaka has a well struck effort from thirty yards and Mignolet sticks up a weak hand and instead of tipping it over the bar for a comfortable “save for the cameras” he basically palms it into his own net. When we need our keeper to help us out he wasn’t able to do so. He actually made the situation worse. And the same again happened on Saturday.
The same has happened continually throughout both of these keepers respective careers. Both have come in for spells and looked good, even if sometimes still a little shaky. Karius giving away a penalty at Palace and palming one straight to Dzeko get forgotten or at least overlooked because we got the result we needed from those games. Yet time and time again with painful inevitability something brings their good runs to an end and the clamour for the other man to come back in grows to a fervour. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. This run Karius has been on since January, in conjunction with VVD coming in and an overall improvement in our defensive stability, has probaly been the best period of form that either of our goalkeeper has been in since Klopp has been here. And yet like every other period, it’s all ended in tears. And can anyone say they’re actually that surprised?
This time however there’s no clamour for the othe other man to return. There’s only clamour for a new man. Mignolet was done at Arsenal. He was done probably long before that. If Saturday night had been the first time we’d seeb Karius make an error then perhaps he too could be forgiven and kept on as number 1. But it’s not. If he wants to stay and fight for his place then good for him. But it should be a monumental task for him to usurp a new goalkeeper.
Karius is a very good keeper with potential to being world class. Klopp wants his keeper to be a sweeper keeper. Somebody who constantly aims to release the ball quickly to launch attacks and also plays as the 11th outfield player with a high-line from the defence. That type of keeper is rare to find these days.
Klopp rates Karius and if he decides to stick wiht him as no1, then that’s his call. Klopp knows better than you or any fan out there. Let the man on 8 million a year handle it the way he wants to handle it.
I know this is a long time after the comments written here, but I’ve been re watching a lot of last seasons games recently, and I have changed my opinion of Karius. Throughout the season I thought of him as a reasonable goalkeeper who was prone to errors, after watching games in retrospect I now believe he’s a poor goalkeeper who is prone to errors. In virtually every game last season our goalkeeper (who ever it was) was worse than the opponents. Beaten at the near post, never sure what they will do with opponent crosses, and rarely making a decent save. I say change it. Maybe keep Karius for backup but we really need a decent keeper.
That’s a pretty well-reasoned argument. Karius is only 24 – in GK terms he’s barely out of junior infants. But the problem is, while by the age of 34 he might well be an excellent and seasoned goalkeeper, I don’t think it will be at Liverpool. It would really be the second greatest resurrection of all time if he held onto the jersey – or the third, if you count that Russian journalist in Kiev (I suppose that shows it’s possible).
Klopp’s style of management is to have profound faith and belief in his players, which is why he is not a chequebook manager, but that only extends to the point when a harsher and wider reality takes over. In this instance I think he’ll feel a fatherly despair that Karius had such a personal nightmare, but he also knows he has a professional responsibility to ensure that all the hard work on the pitch is never again undone by crazy and inexplicable moments like those we witnessed last Saturday. It’s not like LK hadn’t had a few moments beforehand either (he was very shaky against Roma in the second leg for starters). I think we will sign a new number one, and we’ll probably have to go big on it. Add in Keita, Fabinho, hopefully Fekir and maybe another defender and I think we’re all set not just for next season but another campaign or two afterwards. The only thing that might change all that is if Klopp takes a VVD-style approach to the position and decides he’d rather wait to get his first choice rather than go down the list. But there just aren’t that many super keepers around and just maybe we’ll have to go large, and go early. As for Lorus, he can rehabilitate next season and see what happens after that. Chances are his career develops elsewhere.
No keeper is mistake-free. You can nitpick moments where he looked shaky or made a wrong decision this year, but the truth is he has been very good since he made his comeback in January.
Nobody even spared a single concern about Karius before the CL final. Why? Because he did his job well, sometimes even exceptional, saving the team points or keeping them in the game.
It doesnt matter if fans dont think Karius can come back from this. Klopp knows his players best and if he sticks with him as no1, then that’s that.
There are mistakes and there are 1 in a thousand fuck ups. To make 2 off the radar fuck ups in the same match – biggest club match in the world – both at points where the team desperately need the keeper to be solid she’s he is not up to performing at that level. He has got away with a few this season but not on that occasion. Awful to see but he seemed to fall apart psychologically.
I hope he can rebuild his career elsewhere but there are too many ghosts surely for him to carry on at Liverpool. Agree he was brave in facing the fans when he was in such a state.