Saturday 18 November 2017

Loris Karius rejects Rio Olympics to nail down Liverpool No 1 spot

Loris Karius joined Liverpool from Mainz for around £5m CREDIT: DAVE THOMPSON/GETTY IMAGES
Loris Karius joined Liverpool from Mainz for around £5m CREDIT: DAVE THOMPSON/GETTY IMAGES

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool’s new goalkeeper Loris Karius says he sacrificed his Olympic dream to ensure he is Anfield’s number one on the first day of the Premier League season.

Jurgen Klopp is yet to publicly confirm if the £5 million signing from Mainz will displace Simon Mignolet as the preferred keeper at Anfield, but the confident 23-year-old could not have made his intentions and expectations clearer.

Providing he impresses in pre-season it is likely he will start in goal against Arsenal on the opening weekend of the new campaign.

“I spoke with the manager and we said that it doesn't make sense for me to go to the Olympics as I would miss the first two league games of the season and of course I want to play in them,” said Karius.

“We agreed together I wouldn't be going [to Rio].

“First I spoke with Jurgen and then together we spoke with the German people who wanted me to go. The priority is the club. It's more important that I am available for the start of the season.”

Given Karius’s long-term international ambitions, it is highly improbable he would be dissuaded from travelling to Brazil unless he was a starter for his club. However, he must prove he is ready during the course of the pre-season games to demote Mignolet.

“I wouldn't come here just to sit on the bench. That doesn't make sense for me,” said Karius.

“I'm not a keeper who hasn't shown his ability. I know I am a good goalkeeper and I've shown that a lot. I could have stayed at Mainz and played there. If I wasn't sure I could come and play here this season, I wouldn't have done it.

“Of course I know that a club like this has more competition. It's a bigger club and better players means more competition. But I am not scared of anything. If I was, I wouldn't have come here. I have a good feeling.”

Karius does have previous experience of English football, having joined Manchester City as a 16-year-old in 2009.

While there he played for the Under-18 and Under-21 sides, but saw the path to the first team blocked and moved back to the Bundesliga in 2011.

“It's good to be back in England. When I left Man City I was still really young and I decided to go somewhere else to get some first-team experience,” he said.

“I took the step to Mainz. I needed to join a smaller club to get my career going as a young player. I did everything right with that move.  I had almost three full seasons in the Bundesliga. I am still young but I've played around 100 games in the Bundesliga so I have some experience. I thought it was time to take the next step in my career. The opportunity to join Liverpool came up and I thought it was a good next step for me.”

While Liverpool continue to pursue new recruits, they’ve also started to recoup funds with player sales.

The Merseysiders have sold youngster Sergi Canos to Norwich City in a deal worth an initial £2.5 million, which could rise an extra £2m million based on appearances.

Jordon Ibe’s £15 million move to Bournemouth is expected be confirmed over the next 24 hours. Ibe has been in negotiations with Eddie Howe and has been convinced to make the move south.

Liverpool will secure a sell-on clause as part of the deal, but despite Ibe's potential felt the bid was too good to turn down.

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