THE BIG INTERVIEW: Write Tim Krul off at your peril
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City keeper Tim Krul had a busy return to the Premier League at Liverpool. He sat down with Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt to assess the huge challenge ahead this season.
Tim Krul was probably thinking the same thing as the vast majority of Norwich City fans when Liverpool cut loose in the first half at Anfield.
The Norwich City keeper was beaten four times in a ferocious onslaught from the Reds, triggered by Grant Hanley's sliced clearance past the Dutchman. Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi also gorged as the Champions League winners delivered a brutal reality check.
Yet Krul emerged with his reputation enhanced after a string of defiant stops.
Roberto Firmino was foiled with a flying leap in the midst of that early carnage prior to the interval, before top drawer parries to deny both Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Given the arrival of Ralf Fahrmann from Schalke 04 in the summer there was those ready to question whether Krul would get the nod for the opening performance at Anfield. The same doubts were expressed after a shaky start to his Norwich career 12 months ago and some high profile errors in the Carrow Road outings against the likes of West Brom and Leeds United.
But the manner he resurrected a career that looked to be past its best when he was released by this weekend's opponents Newcastle United, after a long term knee injury, should tell you Krul is the type of character who relishes proving people wrong.
"It has been a long journey with a lot of hard work. I didn't realise it was more than three or four years since I last played in the Premier League," he said. "It was something for me to tick off and to feel the confidence that I still have it. To be fair, I feel fitter than I ever have done.
"I can't wait to show that on a weekly basis.
"Being 4-0 down after 30 minutes you look at the clock and you have to be honest as a keeper it is worrying because you know what a top side Liverpool is. It is weird because normally to lose 4-1 you are not getting many plaudits, but we gave them a couple of presents.
"It was always going to be tricky, I think the nerves played a big role but we came out second half and we didn't hide.
"We had 11 lads on the field who went forward, who played our style and we gave Liverpool a big problem.
"That fighting spirit is massive. It is such a big learning curve. I am actually pleased we had Liverpool in the first game because a few of the younger ones who haven't experienced that might have been wondering what to expect, but they had their eyes opened."
Krul is a mentor figure within Daniel Farke's squad and one of the few who knows how unforgiving the Premier League can be and how bright the spotlight burns.
City have been widely tipped to make a swift return to the Championship, while plenty queued up to criticise the Canaries showing at Liverpool.
"Don't shy away from it. Social media is a difficult place because it is hard to shy away from things like negativity. We are going to be underdogs. We all know that," he said.
"Just look at the experience in our squad, but on the other side we have some exciting talent and a way of playing that gave Liverpool a real big problem at times.
"If we play like that we will beat a few teams in this league. I spoke to van Dijk and (Gio) Wijnaldum after the game and they said the same thing that their manager had said, that (Jurgen) Klopp had them well prepared, even more than any other game because he showed the clips from last year and the quality we have got.
"This is going to be all about believing in our philosophy and the manager saying, 'this is how we are going to do it, and we believe we have the players to do it'. That is the manager's message all the time.
"Every game in this league is a cup final. We are not going to win every game but what an opportunity."