Loris Karius’ career took an unexpected turn in the 2018 Champions League final. After two serious mistakes, he couldn’t keep his footing. On Sunday, however, the 29-year-old has a new chance.
It was the 51st minute of the final match between Real Madrid and Liverpool FC when Loris Karius picked up a long ball from the Madrilenians and immediately tried to throw it away. He missed Karim Benzema, the White forward, who put his leg in the trajectory and blocked the ball into the Reds’ goal. Karius was solely responsible for Madrid’s opening goal.
After Sadio Mané’s equalizer just four minutes later, Gareth Bale curled an untenable overhead kick into the top left corner. The LFC could hardly create chances at the end of the game, but then another goalkeeper error made the preliminary decision: Bale shot from distance in the 83rd minute, the ball came to Karius in the middle about two meters above the ground. The ball slipped over the gloves and into the net for the native of Biberach, resulting in a 1:3 defeat.
“I’m really sorry for Loris. You don’t wish that on your worst enemy,” said Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp afterwards.
In retrospect, explosive information became known: just two minutes before his first big mistake, Karius had apparently suffered a concussion. In an aerial duel in the penalty area between Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos, the Spaniard hit Karius in the head with his elbow.
The attending physician Dr. Ross Zafonte announced at the time that the goalkeeper had suffered “visual spatial dysfunction”. But although the goalkeeper gave a reason for his mistakes, it didn’t change anything about the consequences of this horror endgame.
Loris Karius joins Besiktas
Two big mistakes in the most important game of the season – that simply shouldn’t happen to a goalkeeper. It was a reason for Liverpool to invest heavily: the Reds transferred 62.5 million euros to CL semi-final opponents AS Roma to guide keeper Alisson Becker to Anfield Road. And that despite the fact that he was given seven goals in the semifinals.
So it was clear: Karius’ time in Liverpool is over. Because substitute goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was out on the first day of the following season, Karius was nominated one last time for the Liverpool squad. But he didn’t play a single competitive game for the Reds after the final.
Instead, a loan deal to Besiktas in Istanbul followed. There, the 1.89 meter man became the first goalkeeper and initially showed good performances. Therefore, the Süper Lig club extended by a year. But in the second season blunders followed. For example, in the first Europa League game of the 2019/20 season against Slovan Bratislava, when Karius rushed out of the goal with a long ball. He tried to clear the situation with his head but failed to hit the ball properly and cleared his defender in the process, allowing opposing striker Andraz Sporar to slot the ball into an empty goal.
After a salary dispute with the loan club, Karius ended the loan deal early after 26 match days. He returned to Liverpool and initially confirmed that he had no further thoughts of a change. He was at the “best club in the world” with whom he was playing for titles and had the highest possible level of training, he told the interviewer at the time transfer market.
A detour to Union Berlin and the new opportunity
But it did not stop. 1. FC Union Berlin were looking for a successor for the departed goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz and wanted to give him a chance to prove himself. The former Mainz player switched to the Irons again on loan, but was unable to prevail against Andreas Luthe there. He only played in four games that Luthe missed out on injury and once in the DFB-Pokal. He made his last appearance on February 28, 2021 against TSG Hoffenheim.
This game almost exactly two years ago also marks Karius’ last competitive game that he has played to date. In the summer of 2021 there was no further change and so he sat in the stands at Liverpool FC for a full year. Even when his contract expired in 2022, the keeper did not find a new club for a long time.
Then an opportunity presented itself: Newcastle United’s reserve goalkeeper Karl Darlow (now on loan to Hull City) injured his ankle after the transfer window closed. Because Karius was without a club, the Magpies were still able to sign him in September 2022 and he was temporarily number two at the newly rich Premier League club.
Karius? “It’s a great opportunity for him”
Despite returning to the stands after Darlow’s recovery and loan goalkeeper Martin Dubravka returning at the turn of the year as Manchester United’s new number two, Karius is suddenly extremely important for Newcastle. Because on Sunday (5:30 p.m. in LIVETICKER) the final of the Carabao Cup against Manchester United is coming up. And: First-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope was banned for one game in all competitions after a red card, i.e. for the final of all times!
Although Karius is only number three in the ranking, he is now likely to be allowed to play. Unless Newcastle decide to field the nominal number four in Mark Gillespie. Because Dubravka already played for the final opponents United in the first half of the season and is therefore not allowed to be used by another team.
A good four and a half years after his horror evening in Kiev with the subsequent career break, Karius, who has a contract in Newcastle until June, has an unexpected opportunity to give his career new impetus.
Eddie Howe, his coach with the Magpies, is happy for his protégé. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for him to rewrite the history of his career,” he said Guardians quotes: “That’s the beauty of football. This unpredictability makes it such an exciting game.”
However, some Newcastle fans tremble at the knees. In addition to predominantly positive reactions, there were also comments on social media such as “Karius will be the goalkeeper for Newcastle in the final. I’m crying” or “Karius, man. I have palpitations”.
Loris Karius is under a lot of pressure
Regardless, Karius will be under a lot of pressure on his competitive comeback. Finally, the Carabao Cup final is a great opportunity for Newcastle to win their first title since being taken over by the consortium from Saudi Arabia.
And then the opponent is also Manchester United, which is in outstanding form under coach Erik ten Hag. The last five competitive games have been won – since the World Cup break, the Red Devils have only lost to Arsenal. And on Thursday United bowled FC Barcelona from the Europa League.
So it’s a big responsibility for Karius – towards Newcastle United but also towards his personal career.
Loris Karius: He has already played for these clubs