Liverpool’s third-choice goalkeeper from last season, Danny Ward, will be handed an opportunity to impress ahead of the new campaign.
The Welshman was largely an onlooker last term, restricted to just one appearance in the League Cup despite an impressive 2016/17 campaign on loan at Huddersfield.
Karius’ season ended in disappointment, however, with errors and concussion in the Champions League final – and this term hasn’t begun much better, with a mistake against Tranmere sparking more scrutiny.
The Reds have been almost incessantly linked with a new goalkeeper over the last year, with Alisson, Jasper Cilessen and Jan Oblak the most frequently rumoured names, but local media reports have repeatedly rejected the notion of Jurgen Klopp moving to sign one.
Now it appears that Ward will at last be given his opportunity to stake a claim, with the Mirror’s David Maddock reporting he has hugely impressed the manager since returning for training.
The report suggests that Ward wasn’t in the best physical shape a year ago and that his maturity had been questioned at times – but both those concerns have been emphatically addressed over the past few weeks.
Maddock says Klopp has “been impressed by the increased maturity Ward has shown since arriving back for pre-season training” and that the boss will “seriously consider offering Ward the chance to make the number one jersey his own.”
Ward, who turned 25 near the end of last month – the same day as Karius, incidentally – will know this is a critical campaign to establish himself, or else likely need to look elsewhere for the first-team football his talent clearly warrants.