Loris Karius completed the formalities of a transfer to Liverpool on May 24, 2016, with the goalkeeper joining the Reds on a long-term deal after an impressive run of performances in the Bundesliga.
The stopper’s progress properly took off following a move to Jürgen Klopp’s former club Mainz in 2011, though his development as a youngster had already involved spells with several domestic sides and, notably, Manchester City.
Born in the southern town of Biberach, Karius represented FV Biberach, SG Mettenberg, SSV Ulm 1846 and Stuttgart at youth level – before an early move to England beckoned for the 6ft2 custodian.
Having been picked out by City’s scouts, he joined the Manchester club in the summer of 2009 and featured for their U18s and U21s, but never for the first team.
Instead it was at Mainz where Loris would earn senior recognition, with a debut arriving in December 2012 as a second-half substitute during a 2-1 home victory against Hannover in the Bundesliga.
There were no further appearances in that season but Karius’ promotion to first-choice at Coface Arena came in 2013-14, when he clocked up 23 matches in the league.
His agility and reactions in shot-stopping, as well as impressive awareness and composure around the penalty area, belied his relatively young age for a ‘keeper and the transition to top-flight football was smooth.
Loris missed just one Bundesliga fixture in the following campaign as Mainz consolidated their mid-table position, and he was subsequently ever-present – playing every single minute – in the recently-completed 2015-16 season.
Nine clean sheets, including a vital one against Hertha Berlin on the final day, helped his team rise to sixth place in the standings and secure qualification for the Europa League on goal difference.
Such was his personal form, in fact, that a Kicker magazine survey saw 235 Bundesliga players vote Karius as the second-best goalkeeper in the division, behind only Manuel Neuer with 13.6 per cent of the total.