Liverpool’s on-loan goalkeepers face contrasting pressure and Ben Woodburn’s reality check

4 October 2019

Loris Karius and Kamil Grabara are facing increasing pressure in their loan spells at Besiktas and Huddersfield, while Ben Woodburn may be reassessing his aims.


Karius is in his second season in the Turkish Super Lig, and is expected to make a permanent switch to the Black Eagles at the end of the campaign.

But the 26-year-old’s time is Istanbul has been decidedly rocky, and he was heavily criticised after Besiktas’ 4-1 loss to Trabzonspor—a game that saw nine yellow cards shown and Daniel Sturridge coming off the bench for the hosts.

“[Bestikas manager Abdullah] Avci is still trying to improve Karius’ passing,” Turkish pundit Ali Ece lamented.

“He’s past that. You can’t teach these kinds of skills at that age. He isn’t Fabri. You can’t expect him to distribute the ball better than him.”

Given Karius’ age this is questionable, but there is no doubting the German is under considerable scrutiny, only worsened by a last-minute defeat to Wolves in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Besiktas host Alanyaspor on Sunday afternoon, and Avci’s side head into the weekend 16th in the table, having won just once in six league games so far, with Karius conceding nine goals in five outings.

In the Championship, Huddersfield find themselves in an even more worrying position, sitting 23rd, with just one win in 10 games, seven of which have been lost.

Grabara has retained his place as the Terriers’ first-choice goalkeeper as he continues to impress despite shipping 18 goals in the league, one of which came with the Pole directly at fault in the 1-1 draw with Millwall last weekend.

The 20-year-old kept his first clean sheet in Huddersfield’s first league win of the campaign on Tuesday night—a 1-0 victory at Stoke—and spoke sensibly ahead of a visit from Hull.

“We still have to remember it’s only one game we’ve won, we don’t get 10 points for it,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“We deserved the win but have to move on the next one.”

CARDIFF, WALES - Tuesday, November 14, 2017: Wales' Ben Woodburn during the international friendly match between Wales and Panama at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Elsewhere, Woodburn was absent from Ryan Giggs’ latest Wales squad for the upcoming international break, with the 19-year-old instead part of the under-21s selection to play Moldova.

If he features, the midfielder will make his debut as U21s level, after being a regular fixture in the senior setup since his debut in 2017.

This serves to highlight the step down he is required to make in order to revive a career that, despite his young years, can certainly be described as flagging—approaching the three-year anniversary of his Liverpool bow.

At club level, Woodburn is currently with Oxford United, and is finding his feet in League One, including three assists in his last two appearances.

The U’s take on Accrington Stanley on Saturday afternoon, as one of 13 fixtures that could include a Liverpool loanee, stretching from Brazil to the Czech Republic.


Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend

Nathaniel Phillips (VFB Stuttgart), (Image: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/DPA/PA Images)

  • Nat Phillips (Stuttgart) – Wehen (H), Friday 5.30pm
  • Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – Fortuna (H), Friday 7.30pm
  • Taiwo Awoniyi (Mainz) – Paderborn (A), Saturday 2.30pm
  • Kamil Grabara (Huddersfield) – Hull (H), Saturday 3pm
  • Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) – Hearts (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Ovie Ejaria (Reading) – Bristol City (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Ben Woodburn (Oxford United) – Acc. Stanley (A), Saturday 3pm
  • Rhys Williams (Kidderminster) – Farsley Celtic (H), Saturday 3pm
  • Harry Wilson (Bournemouth)Arsenal (A), Sunday 2pm
  • Loris Karius (Besiktas) – Alanyaspor (H), Sunday 2.30pm
  • Anderson Arroyo (Mlada Boleslav) – Viktoria Plzen (H), Sunday, 2.30pm
  • Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) – Hamilton (H), Sunday 3pm
  • Allan Rodrigues (Fluminense) – Botafogo (A), Sunday 8pm

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