Jürgen Klopp has moved quickly to strengthen a position where Liverpool have struggled this season with the signing of German U21 goalkeeper Loris Karius from FSV Mainz 05.
The 22 year old joins The Reds on a 5 year deal and personal terms have been agreed after Premier League side tabled a bid which met his release clause, believed to be around €10 million according to kicker.
Born in Biberach an der Riss, Karius played for local teams FV Biberach, SG Mettenberg and SSV Ulm before being snapped up as a 15-year-old by VfB Stuttgart. While at Stuttgart Karius received his first international recognition being called up to the German U16 team for a game against Macedonia in 2008.
This won’t be the first time the German has plied his trade in England. Manchester City came calling for the young goalkeeper and over a 2-year spell from 2009-11 Karius learned his trade in the blue half of Manchester, regularly playing for their under aged teams as well as making 4 appearances for City’s the reserve side.
After leaving Manchester in 2011 Karius joined Mainz where he was listed as the teams 3rd choice goalkeeper, and featured regularly for their reserve team. On Jan 22nd 2012 Karius was selected to play with the first team for the first time and was an unused substitute for the Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen. Karius made his first team debut on Dec 1st 2012 after first choice goalkeeper Christian Wetklo was dismissed after 52 mins in a 2-1 win against Hannover 96.
The 6ft 2inch (Or 1.87meter) German giant had to wait almost a year before getting his next taste of first team action, after an Injury to Heinz Müller and with Wetklo serving a suspension meant the then 20-year-old played the full 90 mins in a 1-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt.
For the last two seasons the young shot stopper has been an almost ever present in the Mainz goal, missing just 1 game through injury in 2014/15 while not missing a single minute of action during Mainz impressive 2015/16 campaign. 9 clean sheets and 2 penalty saves helped the 05’ers finish in 6th place in the Bundesliga to claim a place in the Europa League.
So what exactly are Liverpool getting for their money?
Firstly, from a financial point of view this seems like a very good deal for the 5 times European Champions, Karius is highly rated as one of the best young goalkeepers in Germany at the moment, he has been capped at every level at international level from U16-U21. The 22-year-old was also voted joint 3rd best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga this season in a poll run on Bundesliga.com.
Mainz Captain Julian Baumgartlinger sang his praises earlier this year, while talking about the shot-stopper the Austrian international said “He has almost no flaws and had become better and better this season, he is very good on the ball as well as being comfortable and confident enough to be able to use both feet”
Quick off the line, confident in the air with a physical presence that oozes from his impressive frame, the man from Biberach failed to make a single error that led directly to a goal this season – while Mignolet had 4. Mainz also play with a “gegenpressing” style so it would appear that he will fit perfectly to Klopp’s preferred style of play. Karius made 86 saves this season, second only to Manuel Neuer though one cause for concern for Liverpool fans might be Karius’ (60%) distribution percentage which only ranked 16th among the Bundesliga goalkeepers.
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