Karius is a man on borrowed time when it comes to his place in Jurgen Klopp's first XI. New signing Alisson will take over goalkeeping duties in the team as soon as the Brazil international finishes his post-World Cup break -- he'll most likely feature against Napoli in Dublin next month. Until then, Karius will be under scrutiny. The games against Man City and then Manchester United on Saturday in Michigan Stadium (5 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes) could be crucial in determining his future.
It has been a dreadful few months for Karius. His catastrophic errors in the 3-1 defeat by Real Madrid in Kiev changed the trajectory of his career. On May 26, he was Liverpool's goalkeeper of choice. Then six minutes into the second half of the Champions League final, Karius rolled the ball into the path of Karim Benzema. Since then, his professional life has spun out of control.
In the wake of Kiev, Karius has never been far from the headlines. After the final, it emerged that he was suffering from a concussion, an injury likely inflicted by Sergio Ramos' elbow before the goalkeeper's first catastrophic mistake. No one should doubt the veracity of the diagnosis -- doctors do not make up this sort of thing -- but the news did Karius no favours. It was a public relations disaster that brought even more unsympathetic scrutiny of his subsequent performances.
Unfortunately, the strain is beginning to show. Karius has made a number of gaffes during preseason. He was skittish during Liverpool's 3-1 defeat vs. Borussia Dortmund in Charlotte and was somewhat unfairly blamed for the Bundesliga club's third goal. After the game, Karius posted on Instagram about pitying those "who take joy at seeing other people fail." The post was out of character for a young man who has hardly lacked confidence since his arrival on Merseyside from Mainz two years ago.
It would be wrong to read too much into Karius' social media riposte to his critics, yet his self-belief has been undermined by a series of blunders and Klopp's swiftness in paying £66 million for his replacement. It is a challenging time for the goalkeeper.
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