In a bid to acclimatise Loris Karius to the physical nature of Premier League football, Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg has been bumping him around with rugby tackling pads.
The £4.7-million signing from FSV Mainz 05 has managed to usurp error-strewn shot-stopper Simon Mignolet’s place in the starting lineup, but it hasn’t exactly been a seamless transition, with the German showing a habit of ineffectively flapping at aerial deliveries.
So Achterberg – who wouldn’t look out of place in an eight-man scrum – has been challenging Karius during practice with PVC-covered rucking shields.
(Courtesy: Liverpool Echo)
“John Achterberg usually does it with his hands but it’s better to use something else!” manager Jurgen Klopp told the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce.
“Of course that’s important. There are different things you have to do as a coach.”
Karius, 23, struggled in his early days with Mainz in the Bundesliga, but overcame those issues enough to earn a move into Klopp’s revolution on Merseyside last summer. It’s not clear sailing from here, though – failing to take to the tough training regime at Melwood or some poor performances in the Premier League could see Mignolet donning the gloves on a regular basis once again.
“First, as a keeper you have to learn the technique then you have to adapt to the real circumstances – having six, seven players around you,” Klopp continued.
“No one gets out of your way. It is completely the opposite. They want to disturb your way.”
With no continental commitments during the working week, Liverpool and Karius are straight back into domestic duty when Watford visits Sunday.