By Coral Barry
Liverpool are set to finally provide some stiff competition for Simon Mignolet by signing Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius within the next week.
But for non-Bundesliga afficianados, there will be one question on supporters’ lips, Loris who?
The 22-year-old stopper is virtually unknown here in England, but has built up a formidable reputation in Germany.
In just five years at Mainz he has gone from starring in the reserve ranks to their undisputed No.1 stopper and here Football Insider picks out five points every Liverpool fan will need to know about the goalkeeper.
1. He’s already a gegenpress expert
The youngster has plenty of links to Merseyside having spent time in Manchester City’s youth ranks and being educated in the teachings of Jurgen Klopp as a player at Mainz.
Karius could fit seamlessly into Klopp’s system at Liverpool as he is already a master of the gegenpress pressing style he introduced at Mainz in the 1990s.
Mainz still play with Klopp’s mantra in mind and Karius is more than comfortable with the high press and has considerably improved his distribution this season.
2. He could be the next De Gea
When David de Gea turned up at Old Trafford it took he quiet a while to settle in, but after winning the Manchester United Player of the Year for the third year in a row, it’s safe to say he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Although it would be foolish to expect too put too much pressure on the young Karius, he has all the attributes the Spaniard had when he first arrived.
Karius’ shot stopping and recovery ability has thrown up some remarkable saves in his time at Mainz including the one below. Hint, he is the guy in green at the start.
3. As ambitious as Klopp
Karius has grand plans for himself. The goalkeeper is planning to not only represent Germany at senior level, but to one day dislodge his country’s undisputed No.1 Manuel Neuer.
In April Karius admitted his ultimate goal is to play in the Champions League and for Germany and with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Timo Horn to leapfrog before he gets the chance to challenge Neurer, those are some lofty ambitions.
4. He keeps illustrious company
According to Bundelsliga expert Archie Rhind-Tutt, Karius is mates with the likes of Justin Bieber and Mario Balotelli.
His friendship with Balotelli stretches back to his time at City, but his Bieber connection seems to have forged over a shared love of tattoos.
Fellow German and current Liverpool player, Emre Can has often caught the Anfield faithful’s eye for his slick hair and flawless image, but perhaps Karius can rival him for the Reds coolest customer?
5. Smaller than Mignolet, but mightier
Mignolet may have 6ft 2in Karius beat in height by two inches, but the youngster possesses something his soon-to-be rival has been severely lacking in recent years, a commanding presence.
He also has the lungs to go with it and Karius can often be heard screaming at his defenders. While every Liverpool fan holds their breath when Mignolet comes for a cross, they need not shudder when Karius emerges off his line.
The German made 81 claims from high balls this season with a 99 percent success rate, while Mignolet’s 82 percent success rate leaves something to be desired.
Even louder music to Liverpool supporters’ ears will be the fact Karius has made exactly zero errors that led directly to goals, compared to Mignolet’s never ending list of face palm moments that cost Liverpool a combined eight Premier League points last season.
In other Liverpool news, Klopp is eyeing up another Bundesliga star to add to his Liverpool squad.