Loris Karius was once a low-risk, high-reward signing at Liverpool, but his fortunes serve as a reminder of how the club had to adapt or die…


THANKS to everyone who has sent through feedback about the first episode of ‘Lost Tapes‘.

The show is something I’ve had in mind for a while. I’ve always been fascinated by those fixtures which slip through our cognitive net due to the sheer weight of information our brains must process from following a football team.

The 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow in December 2017 was one which stood out for the show. It’s a game which wreaks havoc with our sense of time, especially when you look at Liverpool’s 11 that night…

Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum, Phillipe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah.

As Mo Stewart and I touched on, the game was the halcyon for the aptly dubbed “fab four” in attack – a travesty for headline writers across the globe, I’m sure.

It also effectively signalled the end of Moreno’s Liverpool career after he went off injured that night and never recovered the shirt due to Andy Robertson’s rise to prominence.

Perhaps the most astounding thing looking back is knowing Liverpool would have won a European Cup and effectively been champions of England two years later.

Liverpool's players line-up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and FC Spartak Moscow at Anfield

The team changed. Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold emerged. We were on the precipice of the Coutinho and Virgil van Dijk sliding door.

Players like Can, Klavan, Lovren and Karius were all established first-team players in the not-too-distant past.

Five years seems a paltry amount when thinking of the journey from there to here. When considering where Liverpool and Karius will be this weekend it feels like a lifetime.

The German goalkeeper broadly embodies Liverpool’s model under Klopp and FSG. He was a Moneyball option who could circumvent engaging with others’ perceived over-inflated values. He cost £4m and Salah cost £40m but both were part of the same strategy.

Klopp and the club created the best possible environment for players to succeed, regardless of how they arrived. Liverpool improved in every department, meaning that while Karius didn’t work, other low-value additions like Joel Matip and Robertson absolutely did.

We often talk now of Liverpool finding a Moises Caicedo before he gets to Brighton and not costing upwards of £100m. These transfers were an attempt to do so. It doesn’t always work.

They eventually arrived at Alisson Becker’s door but did so having learnt the hard way. Let’s not go into it.

Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius looks dejected after gifting Real Madrid the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at the NSC Olimpiyskiy

Playing in goal for this club comes with astounding expectancy, pressure and requires huge amounts of fortitude. Alisson will undoubtedly recover from his error which led to Vinicius Jr’s second goal in midweek, but not every goalie possesses such attributes.

While Liverpool attempts another redemption story at Selhurst Park, Karius will be serendipitously preparing to feature in the Carabao Cup Final for Newcastle United against Manchester United.

He has made just 72 career appearances since that night in Kyiv, the bulk of which came for Besiktas in Turkey before a brief spell at Union Berlin and his return to the Premier League this summer.

The trajectories of the player and his former club couldn’t be more at odds. In some sense, Karius represents the ultimate hoodwink of time and transition under Klopp at Liverpool.

We now face anxiety and uncertainty over what the future holds and how Liverpool come back from this current demise in fortune.

There’ll plenty of reminders at Wembley of how quick things can change for everyone.

None more so than the presence of Loris Karius once again.

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