Loris Karius is bracing himself for the double challenge of trying to win a place in Liverpool's first team and adapt to Premier League football – but insists he's ready for both.
The goalkeeper joined the Reds from FSV Mainz in the summer, but had his start to life on Merseyside cut short after sustaining a broken hand during a pre-season encounter with Chelsea in the United States on July 28.
However, Karius edged closer towards full fitness on Wednesday when the support wires placed in his right hand were removed and he’s expected to resume full training at Melwood next week.
The 23-year-old told Liverpoolfc.com on Friday he wouldn’t be taking any risks with his fitness as he eases his way back in, but once deemed ready to come back into contention by the club’s backroom team, he will compete with Simon Mignolet and Alex Manninger for a place in goal.
“Competition is always good for the team,” Karius said during a chat with this website at the training complex. “The manager needs to find 11 players and we have great players in every position – probably two for each position. That’s how it is.
“Goalkeeper-wise, the three of us get on really well. In training, of course we know we are in competition, but we have a good relationship and there’s a good harmony between us.
“Obviously I want to play but with the injury I just have to see how it goes. The most important thing is that as a team we get results on top of playing well. Whoever the manager thinks is best to do that for him, that’s how it is.
“I’m looking forward, not really thinking about the challenge, but just being able to train with the team and go out every day, enjoy myself doing what I really like to do instead of just hitting the gym every day and watching the others play. It’s going to be a good feeling. Then we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
When Karius does get an opportunity, he’ll not only come into a Liverpool side that is demonstrating an increasingly distinctive style of play under Jürgen Klopp, but he'll also be experiencing English football for the first time.
So will that require any personal adaptation for the goalkeeper?
“I don’t think so because I have always tried to see where I can help the teams I’ve played at before and where I can make the play quicker when it’s needed or when to calm it down,” he replies.
“Probably the reason I am here is because the manager thinks I’ll fit into the style of play. Of course, he tells me his ideas and I don’t think we’re far off, so I think I’m good!
“I’ve also seen a lot of the Premier League before – it’s a high level, but I think it’s the same in Germany so I don’t think I am going to be surprised about anything.
“I am well prepared and looking forward to it, so there’s nothing I am scared of or unsure of. I think I am good to go.”