In the past couple of weeks, Karius’ ongoing nightmare has come to a head.
He cannot escape his demons on the pitch, as demonstrated by his continued struggles in goal, and some fans are only making matters worse.
Mo Salah came to his defence on Twitter after Karius expressed his contempt for those who, in his words, find joy in his suffering.
Iker Casillas posted a video of high-profile mistakes he made in his own career. He rightfully asked the question: Who among us can say they’ve never made a mistake?
Salah, Casillas, and Karius’ acknowledgement shows just how aware players are of the abuse he’s received. Some might say Karius should just stay offline, but that’s hardly the pertinent point.
One thing is clear. This won’t be going away by itself any time soon.
Down and Out
Even before Kyiv, someone from Mainz had commented that he was “unrecognisable” from the player they’d known. His confidence had deserted him long before the 26th of May 2018.
It would be easy to go back over his career and use stats to point out where it all went wrong. This is of little consequence to the issue at hand though.
We all remember the costly mistakes that have plagued him throughout his Liverpool career, and we’re thankful that the club has brought in Alisson to take the helm.
It is worth remembering though that after a particularly bad error against Bournemouth, Klopp reinstated Mignolet and said he was doing so to take Karius “out of the firing line”.
Perhaps this same approach could’ve been done better in the wake of the final.
A Time for Reflection
I remember how angry I was after Kyiv. I turned to a friend, spewed out some hateful words and told him how happy I’d be when Karius was gone.
As the dust settled though, I saw that Karius not only shared but exceeded the pain I was feeling.
I was wrong to attack a fellow Red like that on a personal level. He made a mistake, and so did I.
As football fans, it’s understandable that we let our emotions get the better of ourselves at times, it shows how deeply we care for this great club.
But as human beings it’s important not to lose sight of our duty to our fellow man, to show compassion and support.
You only have to look at the depression former Liverpool ‘keeper Chris Kirkland went through, or the tragic suicide of Robert Enke to remember that these are real people with real feelings.
In both cases, on-field incidents played a role. A stark reminder that although we love it dearly, there are more important things in life than football.
Thankfully these days mental health is discussed more openly, and people are keen to help their family and friends who are suffering. It’s time we extend the olive branch more freely.
Like every fan, I still wanted Alisson in to help us move forward, but I no longer held any ill-will towards our current ‘keeper.
Anger slowly turned to sympathy. Throughout pre-season though, sympathy has grown into full-blown pity.
The club’s steadfast defence of him is admirable, however, in hindsight he probably should’ve been shielded for a while longer.
An extended holiday might’ve been the best course of action to allow him more time to come to peace with what he’d gone through.
It’s clear now that the friendlies have only made the ordeal worse.
If the plan was to bring in a new number one, then why was it necessary for Karius to struggle his way through those games?
His lashing out on Instagram is an obvious sign of a desperate man who is trying in vain to stay afloat. The weight he still carries has been written all over his face from the beginning of pre-season.
A direct message to the fans from Klopp himself might’ve been more effective.
Letting Go of the Past
This is a time of unprecedented optimism for Liverpool in the Premier League era, that’s why most of us have been able to move on from that night. Karius can’t.
His girlfriend apparently left him because of death threats she’d received. That’s entirely unacceptable on any level.
The players and their families are clearly aware of what’s being said about them online. We should be wary of the damage it can cause.
We can be excited about Alisson without hammering Karius. We can be relieved without being cruel. There’s a fine line between fair criticism and personal attacks.
It’s possible that Karius won’t be a Liverpool player for much longer, and a return to Germany away from the spotlight may be the best thing for him, but that is irrelevant.
For now, he remains part of the Liverpool Family we’re so proud of. It doesn’t matter if it’s Karius, Bobby, or Mo. He still deserves our support and respect.
This is my appeal to all Liverpool fans.
You have a right to voice your opinion. You have a right to feel angry about the past. But remember, one of our own is doing it tough right now. We need to be there for Karius and help him through it, or at least not make life harder.
Most importantly, it’s our responsibility to practice what we as a club preach. It’s what separates us from the rest. We stick together through the good, and especially the bad.
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
You’ll Never Walk Alone, Loris.
Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 27/07/2018