Ian Hart: Witch-hunt unnecessary, but not unexpected

Football action
Football action

Liverpool’s Champions League dream turned into a personal nightmare for Reds keeper Lorius Karius.

His two mistakes resulted in Real Madrid’s first and third goals, and while Gareth Bale’s overhead kick for Real’s second is probably the greatest-ever goal scored in the history of the competition, Karius’s performance will forever be cited as the reason for Liverpool’s defeat in Kiev.

Even without any kind of affinity to Liverpool, I watched the events unfold on Saturday and really felt for the hapless German keeper.

Unfortunately, it’s the way of football – an outfield player can commit a howler and more often than not won’t concede a goal, but error by the man between the sticks most of the time doesn’t have come with the same safety net.

At the end of the match I was surprised and disappointed about how long it took for any of his teammates or members or the coaching staff to go and console Karius.

Subsequently, in the aftermath of the final, the police are now investigating death threats issued to the player on social media.

Losing a football match is one thing, but there really are some specimens about.

Ultimately, this is human error we’re talking about.

He’s a professional sportsman and he didn’t do it on purpose.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, some of the stick, especially the death threats, is both unnecessary and utterly unacceptable.

Unfortunately, football-wise, I see no way back at Anfield for Karius, and I believe it would take a very brave Premier League manager to give him a chance in the top flight.

The flack he will receive from opposition fans will be off the scale, and every error, however small, will be analysed to the nth degree.

That doesn’t mean he can’t rebuild his career, but I think returning to Germany might be the best option available.

One thing is for certain – they will still be talking about the Champions League Final of 2018 for many years to come, and, unfortunately, Lorius Karius will always get a mention.

Let’s hope somewhere in his image rights contract he gets repeat fees.

n Whether you like or not them or not, the furore over Raheem Sterling’s tattoo smacks of another press witch hunt to derail England’s World Cup campaign before it has even started.

I think Sterling is one of those players fans either love or loathe, but given his reasons for the body art on his right leg – Sterling’s father was fatally shot when the player was just two, he wrote on Instagram, adding: “I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning” – the media should just let it go and leave the player to get on with playing football for his country. Gun crime is huge issue in this country, but I seriously doubt Sterling’s tattoo can in any way be viewed as glorifying it – in fact, given the aforementioned reason, anything but.