Liverpool have confirmed German goalkeeper Loris Karius as their first signing of what’s tipped to be a busy summer.
Arriving for £4.7m from Mainz, the highly-rated 22-year-old will provide competition to the oft-maligned Simon Mignolet for the number one jersey, something the Belgium international has been lacking since he arrived at Anfield.
Chief understudy Adam Bogdan and predecessor Brad Jones both lacked the required class to mount genuine challenges to Mignolet’s first-team place, while youngster Danny Ward obviously isn’t held in the highest regard either.
With his position never subject to sustained, genuine threat (Brendan Rodgers did once drop Mignolet for Jones during the 2014/15 campaign, but that didn’t last long), the former Sunderland stopper’s mistakes, of which there have been plenty, typically went unpunished.
Now Karius – an upstart onion-bag warden who was first-choice at Mainz for three straight seasons despite his inexperience – has joined the ranks, this is certain to change.
But should the inbound keeper be providing competition to number one net minder Mignolet, or should it be the other way around?
In terms of league clean sheets kept last season, the longer-serving Liverpool star edged it 11-9.
However, with averages of 2.53 saves per match and 2.1 saves per goal, it seems Karius was the harder keeper to beat in 2015/16.
Mignolet’s means in the same fields stand at 1.53 and 1.27 respectively.
Similarly, the Germany Under-21 international was a more convincing dominator of his box too, catching 81 crosses over the course of the campaign compared to his counterpart’s 74.
He arrives on Merseyside from Mainz, a team that doesn’t boast a raft of multi-million pound defenders, yet they managed to concede eight Bundesliga goals fewer than the 50 Liverpool leaked.
Indeed, only five Premier League rivals were beaten more frequently than Mignolet last term and two of these keepers represented relegated teams.
With better players providing protection, it stands to reason that Karius will post even greater averages in 2016/17 and should undoubtedly start the season as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice.