Jurgen Klopp took the time to send Vitezslav Jaros, the Czech-born goalkeeper who Liverpool loaned out to St Patrick’s Athletic, a “good luck” message before Sunday’s FAI Cup final.
And now that he has a winner’s medal tucked away, his reputation enhanced among Saints supporters given his saves in the defeat of Bohemians, Jaros will look to the Anfield club for guidance on his next move and find out just how much of an impact his time in Dublin made on Klopp and his staff.
Effectively fourth-choice of the nine (yes, nine) ’keepers on the books at Anfield, behind Alisson, Caoimhín Kelleher and Adrián, Jaros is ahead of someone like Loris Karius (remember him?) but also unlikely to work his way into the frame for the first team at Liverpool in the short-term and may need another loan spell.
Pat’s would love to see him back in 2022 but Liverpool’s coaching staff may opt for a loan deal in another league, as they assess his display: the Reds had their Chief Scout and Loans Manager in Dublin for the game.
“It was a brilliant sign-off, it can’t get any better than that, winning the cup in front of 40,000 people. Brilliant,” says Jaros, pleased to end his time in Dublin on a high.
“I am still in the middle of figuring out what’s the next step. I’ll see what happens when I get back to Liverpool. I need to get back and do some physio screening and stuff like that. Then I’ll probably get some time off and then see what happens in January when the transfer window opens.”
But Jaros, aside from picking up a medal, says his game has benefited from his time as a Saint. “The main things in men’s football: the game-management, when to go long and when to go short, when to slow down and when to speed up. Game-management would be the main thing,” he said when asked what he’d learned here.
“I enjoyed the pressure that you get from the crowd. I think it drove me on, so I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Jaros made key saves in the game and in the shootout but while the honour of scoring the winning penalty fell to Robbie Benson, the Saints midfielder said that was important for him at the end of a difficult few days.
“I actually didn’t have any nerves. It’s actually been a tough week for myself personally. My grandmother passed away last weekend and I was just hoping I could have a moment myself for my Dad as he’s had a tough week, it would make it extra special,” Benson said, pleased with the outcome as Cup finals didn’t always go his way.
“I lost two on penos and one with the last kick in extra-time. In an alternate universe I’d be celebrating my fifth Cup final win but I’m just happy to get the win,” he added.