Liverpool loanee wins title on final day in early setback for Pepijn Lijnders

It was a successful end to the season for Liverpool goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros as he helped seal title glory – at the expense of Pepijn Lijnders‘ new club.

After joining Sturm Graz on loan in January as the Austrian club’s new No. 1, Jaros has enjoyed a hugely productive spell.

Having gained experience in the Europa Conference League, the 22-year-old lifted the Austrian Cup at the start of May following a 2-1 victory over Rapid Wien.

And on Sunday, Sturm Graz earned a 2-0 win at home to Austrian Klagenfurt to clinch the Bundesliga title for the first time since 2010/11.

Having finished runners up in the previous two campaigns, Die Schwoazn went one better as they secured a league and cup double.

It came as they kept their two-point lead over Red Bull Salzburg, whose own 7-1 win over LASK on the final day still left them frustrated.

Salzburg – who will see Liverpool assistant manager Lijnders arrive as head coach this summer, supported by Vitor Matos – had won 10 consecutive Austrian Bundesliga titles prior to this campaign.

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That lays out the challenge for the arriving duo, who will be tasked with restoring Salzburg to the top after a major setback.

For Jaros, lifting the Austrian Bundesliga trophy marked a fitting end to a perfect loan spell, which could now see him return to Merseyside as a first-team option.

The Czech stopper is classed as a homegrown player for both the Premier League and Champions League, and may come into contention for Arne Slot if Caoimhin Kelleher leaves.

A chance under Slot at Liverpool?

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Wednesday, July 19, 2023: Liverpool's goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros during a pre-season friendly match between Karlsruher SC and Liverpool FC at the Wildparkstadion. Liverpool won 4-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

His time with Sturm Graz has certainly prepared him for a step up, having made 21 appearances and made a slew of vital saves.

There is even a chance he heads to Euro 2024 with the Czech Republic this summer, with manager Ivan Hasek including him in his previous squad for the March international break.

If the decision is made to allow Jaros to leave Anfield, however, it is likely that Liverpool will receive plenty of interest.

Having enhanced his reputation by winning the double with Sturm Graz, the young goalkeeper has an exciting summer ahead.