This is an old article we’ve taken from our archive. Liverpool are reportedly very close to signing the German goalkeeper and we thought we’d share Ste Killen’s thoughts on him from January 2015.

It sounds like Liverpool have themselves a great stopper.


The long list of young, talented German goalkeepers has produced yet another gem. These phenomenal, truly world class shot stoppers go back to torhüter’s such as Sepp Maier, Harald Schumacher, Andreas Köpke, Jens Lehmann, and, most recently, Ballon d’Or finalist Manuel Neuer.

A big reason for this is the way in which Germany emphasise the youth. Not just German goalkeepers gain media coverage and spotlight, but it is German youth teams in general: earlier in the summer Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund striker Davie Selke lead his u19 team-mates to European Championship glory, beating Portugal 1-0 in Hungary.

Germany have a different policy in comparison to other countries; while Spain has clubs with great youth policies, the Germans took a conscious effort to inculcate a culture that encourages the development of local talent.

Funds of €10m are set aside for the ongoing development of the DFB talent promotion programme and the establishment of centres of excellence to further strengthen the game at grassroots youth level nationwide. The future contract terms will maintain the inclusion of a five million Euro DFB subsidy for the regional associations to help underpin their budgets and in so doing relieve the financial pressure of the country’s amateur clubs

Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich are perfect examples. Both clubs’ ranks are filled with players who started their careers in the youth system and progressed through the ranks. Julian Draxler, Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos, Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Götze are just some of the talented players who have gone on to win trophies with their clubs and build a competitive, unstoppable force that is the German National team.

Will Karius follow in their illustrious footsteps? Time will tell.

WHO IS LORIS KARIUS?

Karius was born in Biberach an der Riß in June, 1993. At the age of 12, Karius joined VfB Stuttgart Jugen, signing from SSV Ulm 1846 Fussball e. V. Jugend, based in Ulm, Baden-Württemberg. Four years later, moving from the Stuttgart U17’s side he joined English side Manchester City’s youth system for £198,000; a move highlighting his talent and strength in character to make such a big move, so early in his life.

Between 2010 and 2011, he made his debut on April 13 against Wigan Athletic’s reserves, however during his time in England, he played just four times for Manchester City’s reserve team in all. His time at City came to an end when he was loaned to FSV Mainz in August 2011.

For the first stages of his loan at Mainz he was a regular in Mainz’s second team as he had to compete with Christian Wetklo and Heinz Müller for the first team spot. He played twenty-two times for the second team before signing for Mainz permanently on a free transfer.

His debut for Mainz came quite fortunately. Following the injury of Heinz Müller and Christian Wetklo’s dismissal, a young Loris Karius came on against Hannover on the 1st of December 2012. He had to wait another year for his second appearance for Die Nullfünfer, though, but it was worth it with his first full 90 minutes resulting in a clean-sheet and 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

He has played throughout the German youth teams, however he is yet to play for the National team with four or five keepers standing in his way.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Standing at 6 ft 2, Karius is an ideal height and has the stature of a strong, physical goalkeeper. Every ‘keeper differentiates between which strength they possess between the sticks.

Firstly, with modern ‘keepers they’re expected to be aggressive in their goalkeeping and standing tall when the attacker is bearing down on goal. The strength Karius possesses is excellent for one-on-one shot stopping but not only that, he has the knowledge not to go diving in which you see happen so many times all over Europe; giving the strikers the chance to dance round the keeper and slot into the open net. As the player breaks through one-on-one, he steadily advances away from the six yard box minimizing the target.

As well as this, Karius also has brilliant shot stopping and reflexes for all types of shots. In most matches in the Bundesliga campaign, he is forced into some game-changing saves. This season he has made 56 saves, keeping five clean sheets. Arguably in the last match before the winter break, he kept Mainz in the game against Bayern Munich despite the 1-2 loss.

The only stand out weakness in his game is the lack of catching and his dependency on punching. This season, Karius has 59% average punches a game which in some cases can be a good trait to have but in some games it really is best to catch the ball when you’re struggling to keep possession and that is where catching is most important.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Although, at this stage I do not believe he deserves a place in the national team. I do believe he deserves a chance to compete with ter Stegen, Zieler, Leno and Neuer in the future. It may not be a permanent role in the team, but I feel that, in the next four or five years, he deserves around ten caps under his belt if he continues to improve how he is. But first, he deserves to be called up to the U21s before he is ineligible because he has made just one appearance for the U21s, playing in a 1-1 draw with Czech Republic in November.

He was heavily linked with Arsenal and Liverpool to be the answer to their goalkeeping problems but these rumours were put well and truly to bed when he signed a contract until 2018 at the Coface Arena, securing his best years at the Rhineland-Palatinate club. Plenty to look forward to for the Nullfünfer faithful, with this man between the sticks.

Read more from Stephen Killen