WIGAN, ENGLAND - Friday, July 14, 2017: Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius before a preseason friendly match against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Loris Karius makes first Bundesliga outing since 2016 in “extremely bitter” circumstances

Loris Karius was back in Bundesliga action on Saturday, for the first time since leaving Mainz for Liverpool in 2016, but it came in “extremely bitter” circumstances.

When Karius swapped Liverpool for a season-long loan at Union Berlin – the Bundesliga’s surprise package, having finished 11th in their first campaign in the top flight – he may have expected a more focal role.

But the goalkeeper has spent the majority of his time in the capital as second choice behind the imperious Andreas Luthe, limited to a single appearance in the 3-2 loss to Paderborn in the DFB-Pokal.

A foot injury sidelined him temporarily at the end of October, but prior to Saturday, he had been exclusively seen on the bench in the league.

The weekend’s visit of Borussia Monchengladbach, though, handed Karius an opportunity – only for it to come after a worrying head injury for Luthe.

Luthe was forced off following a collision with Gladbach striker Marcus Thuram and Union centre-back Robin Knoche, leaving manager Urs Fischer to turn to his overlooked deputy.

Karius entered the fray in the 69th minute with the scores at 1-1, and in truth had little to do, with a stoppage-time save to deny Thuram’s header relatively straightforward as the game played out for a share of the points.

Speaking to the Berliner Morgenpost after the game, Karius admitted he felt “extremely bitter” about his role at Union, having struggled to make his mark in Berlin.

“The situation is extremely bitter for me, but the team has had a great run,” he explained.

“I am confident that I will still get my opportunities.”

Karius could make his first start back in the Bundesliga against Mainz on February 6, marking his return proper after four-and-a-half years away.

Cardiff City's Harry Wilson celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Harry Wilson produced a response to new Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy’s challenge to “impress” as he came off the bench to set up the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Millwall.

An own goal from Aden Flint put Millwall up in the ninth minute, with Wilson again starting the game from the bench – McCarthy only turning to his top creator just after the hour mark.

Picking up the ball 50 yards out in the middle of the pitch, the 23-year-old surged forward and played a deft pass through for Kieffer Moore who fired home to seal a point.

Sheyi Ojo started the game up front alongside Moore, but was brought off for Josh Murphy after a bright performance that saw him look to threaten whenever possible.

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 16, 2021: Blackburn Rovers' Harvey Elliott during the Football League Championship match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Stoke City FC at Ewood Park. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Blackburn’s 1-0 victory over Luton saw Harvey Elliott make his 20th start of the Championship campaign, and despite a quiet hour on the pitch he still showed his quality, particularly with an impressive ball over the top for Adam Armstrong early on.

In League One, Adam Lewis made his return from an ankle injury to play the final 22 minutes in Plymouth’s 2-2 draw with Accrington Stanley, picking up a booking in the process.

Marko Grujic made his third consecutive start for Porto in their 2-0 win over Gil Vicente to reach the semi-finals of the Taca de Portugal, in a game that hinted he could keep his place on the return of Sergio Oliveira as his side switched to a three-man midfield.

Finally, Anderson Arroyo played the full 90 minutes for the fourth game in a row as Salamanca fought back for a 2-2 draw with Guijuelo.

Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup

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Not in action: Liam Millar (game postponed), Kamil Grabara