It has been a remarkable 2018 for those between the sticks at Anfield – and here’s how it has all happened.
Liverpool’s goalkeeping situation has been the talk of the summer among Reds fans – and for many, many months before that.
All year speculation has centred around whether Jurgen Klopp would address what many saw as a major shortcoming of his team.
Now, with Loris Karius on the brink of a long-term loan deal to Besiktas, where there were four senior goalkeepers on the books, only two could remain.
Liverpool’s goalkeeper saga
January 5 – Karius assumes the gloves
Simon Mignolet started the year in goal for the New Year’s Day Premier League win at Burnley, but Loris Karius is named for the FA Cup third round tie against Everton.
January 12 – No plans to sign goalkeeper in January
With the money from Philippe Coutinho’s sale burning a hole in their pocket, Liverpool nevertheless make it clear they aren’t chasing a new goalkeeper. Loris Karius will be given a chance to prove his worth.
Loris Karius is given the chance to prove his worth
February 16 – Reds put Alisson interest on hold
Karius has responded well to the challenge, prompting Liverpool to cool interest in Allison.
They’ve informed his representatives not to expect a bid this summer, as things stand.
April 24 – Liverpool smash five past Alisson at Anfield
Alisson is at Anfield at last – but it’s not a happy time for him as Roma are thumped 5-2 in their Champions League semi-final first leg. None of the goals were his fault, though.
May 2 – Alisson flattered by Liverpool links
The Liverpool rumours won’t go away, and ahead of the second leg in Rome Allison is asked about the interest from the Reds. “Obviously, it is only logical that the interest makes me happy,” he states.
May 27 – Liverpool target Alisson
The Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, and the painful blunders by Karius, prompt Jurgen Klopp to reappraise his goalkeeper situation. Alisson is one of the names on his list.
June 3 – Alisson back at Anfield
A warm ovation for the goalkeeper as he approaches a packed Kop once again. This time, though, it’s a happier outcome, as Brazil beat Croatia 2-0 in their World Cup warm-up friendly.
June 6 – Alisson asks about Liverpool move
Agent Bobby does his bit. Roberto Firmino admits he has been telling Alisson all about life at Anfield. “Yes, he asked me about Liverpool and I hope he can come here,” he says. “It wouldn’t be bad if he came to Liverpool.”
June 27 – Alisson not sleeping because of Liverpool
The goalkeeper reveals that thoughts of Liverpool are stopping him from having a good night’s kip. However, it’s nothing to do with a transfer. Instead, Roma’s 5-2 Champions League defeat played on his mind.
July 6 – Karius given shot at redemption
With behind the scenes efforts to plan a move to Alisson proving difficult, Jurgen Klopp places his trust in Loris Karius for the new season. “We start completely new,” he says.
July 10 – Roma will consider offers
Everybody has his price, according to Roma sporting director Monchi. And that includes Alisson. “If a bid arrives, we will study it and make a decision,” he says.
July 17 – Liverpool make world record bid
As concerns over Karius grow, the Reds, encouraged by a drop in the player’s asking price, finally make their move as they lodge a £62million offer for Alisson with Roma. Talks begin, with Roma holding out for more than £66m.
July 18 – Reds agree deal
An agreement is reached with Roma for the goalkeeper. Permission has been given to speak to the player, who flies into Merseyside. The end is approaching for a lengthy transfer saga.
July 19 – Alisson deal confirmed
The player passes his medical and is confirmed as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper at £65m. The Brazilian hails it as a ‘dream move’ before returning to Italy on holiday.
July 23 – Karius considers Liverpool future
Karius admits he is considering his Liverpool future after the world record arrival of Alisson. “Of course that’s not perfect for me, but I cannot say much more about that either,” he says of Alisson arriving.
August 7 – Karius given rousing ovation
Alisson makes his Anfield debut in the friendly win over Torino. Halfway through the second half, the goalkeeper is replaced by Karius who, on his first home appearance since Kiev final,
enters the field to huge cheers.
August 15 – Mignolet’s Napoli move hits snag
Simon Mignolet has been keeping his counsel throughout the year, including while on the bench for Belgium in the World Cup. But his hopes of a move to Napoli hit a snag. “Liverpool want to keep him, but he wants to and must play,” says his agent Nico Vaesen.
August 20 – Karius deal confirmed
Liverpool agree an initial two-year loan for Karius with Besiktas, who will pay a loan fee of £2.25m and are obligated to buy the keeper for a further £7.25m in 2020 if certain performance criteria are met. Mignolet, meanwhile, is now set to stay as Alisson’s backup.