We don’t want to be seen to be leaping on the career grave of anyone who has endured the embarrassment Liverpool’s goalie suffered through last night, but it’s as clear as a Sergio Ramos elbow to the face that Liverpool need a new keeper if they’re to step up a level next season.
Loris Karius established himself as Jugen Klopp’s preferred option between the sticks in the latter half of this season, but the manager, who’s known for his talent of developing talent and salvaging careers, has the footballing equivalent of raising the Titanic on his hands in the 22-year-old German following what will go down as one of the most wretched individual performances ever seen in a major final.
With Liverpool’s chances of winning a sixth European cup sabotaged by the slippery hands and sloppy distribution of their keeper, and Simon Mignoloet having held only to relinquish the number one spot at Anfield previously, surely eyes must turn to the already-swinging-wide open transfer window and the sunnier prospect of a capable custodian in nets next season?
We’ve drawn up a short-list of some sought after options from across Europe to help them in their search.
Alisson Becker – Roma
“Didn’t this character let in seven goals against Liverpool a few weeks ago?” I hear you cry.
Well, yeah, he did, but he’s already done enough at Roma in his short time as their number one to attract Klopp’s interest.
A coach with the Giallorossi has gone so far as to call him “the Messi of goalkeepers“, which is a curious image, but we presume it means he’s good. If you’re not convinced by that, here’s a video of his best saves:
He’s battling it out for Ederson as Brazil’s first choice in Russia, and his stats are as impressive as any keeeper in Europe this season, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Sign him up Kloppo.
Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid
Though he seems to have been around forever, the Slovene is still just 25 having made his professional debut at 16 and spent four years as Atletico’s first choice keeper after the departure of David de Gea and return of Thibault Courtois to the Premier League.
Oblak could follow them to England, but would come at a price in the region of £170m having signed a new contract with the Madrid club in recently. That’s all your Countinho money gone pretty quick.
Nick Pope – Burnley
“Why’s it always gotta be a foreign keeper?” Fair point Merse. Anfield could welcome a new stopper from a few miles away in Nick Pope, who usurped the 2016/17 Fantasy Football mainstay Tom Heaton as Burnley’s top goalkeeping dog in the season just past.
Liverpool have previously tried and failed to fill this slot with hot England prospects, Scott Carson and Chris Kirkland being two names that failed to stick at Anfield.
Pope’s performed so well in a seventh finishing Clarets side that he’s earned a World Cup berth this summer, when he can indulge his passion for early twentieth century experimental Russian poetry as third-choice of the three shotstopping lions in Southgate’s squad. (Ok, I made up the poetry bit, but sub keepers must do something to pass the time at World Cups, right?)
Kepa Arrizabalaga – Athletic Bilbao
Another World Cup back-up, Kepa is part of Spain’s squad having established himself as the Basque side’s first choice with some outstanding performances. He would also be another youthful prospect for Klopp to develop, the 23-year-old reportedly blip-blip-blipping on the radar of Real Madrid prior to his signing a new deal with Athletic Club in January.
If Liverpool are willing to spend, they could get one over on their Kiev conquerers and shore up a weak spot in their team for possibly a decade or more.
Koen Casteels – Wolfsburg
The Merseysiders have already tried one Belgian without success, but Casteels has drawn wide-ranging plaudits for his performances in a struggling Wolsfsburg side. They finished 16th this season, and had to contest a playoff to stay in the Bundesliga, though their 48 goals conceded would’ve had them comfortably mid-table if they were doing enough at the other end.
As with more-or-less every German-based player, the 25-year-old has been linked with Arsenal due to the Sven Mislintat connection, but Liverpool could slip in ahead of the Gunners for a keeper who may be tired of rescuing his team.