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Caoimhin Kelleher praised for ‘exceptional’ display in Liverpool’s latest win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Feb 2024

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Jurgen Klopp emphasised Caoimhin Kelleher’s importance to Liverpool’s trophy hunt in the ongoing absence of first-choice goalkeeper Alisson.

The Republic of Ireland international impressed in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Brentford that ensured the Reds stayed top of the Premier League.

It was his second conservative start, with Alisson having missed the last two games – first with illness and then a muscle injury.

With 14 appearances so far in all competitions this has been by far the 25-year-old’s busiest season at Anfield, surpassing his previous best of eight games in 2021/22.

Kelleher is set to play in next weekend’s Carabao Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley having being selected in each of the team’s five matches in the competition.

He previously kept goal when Liverpool beat Sunday’s opponents on penalties in the final of the 2021/22 edition.

“He was outstanding (against Brentford),” said Klopp. “I don’t know exactly who is the number one for Ireland but if they have a better goalkeeper, respect. He’s outstanding. This year we gave him more games than he had previously. It’s well deserved.

“We need him. We need him with rhythm. Now the situation around Alisson shows that makes absolute sense. We will see how long Alisson is out, but Caoimhin is exceptional. (On Saturday) he had an A+ performance.”

Klopp said he had not previously planned to play Kelleher at the Gtech Stadium despite Sunday’s approaching showpiece at Wembley.

With the extent of Alisson’s injury currently unknown it is possible that the understudy will play when Liverpool welcome Luton to Anfield on Wednesday.

The Brazilian did not travel to Brentford, instead remaining at the club’s Melwood training complex to receive treatment.

“Alisson was ill last week and is injured this week,” said Klopp. “There’s absolutely no other ideas behind it. If Alisson would not have been ill and would not have been injured now, he would have played.

“We’ve had enough games to have a rhythm. Goalkeepers are a different breed to other people. It was not in my plan to play (Kelleher) at Luton.

“We play the game with all focus and attention. I don’t think about other things. It’s the only way I know.”

Klopp is currently dealing with an extensive injury list, made worse after Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones both left the stadium on Saturday on crutches.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai are also amongst those unavailable in the coming weeks, while Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip are longer-term absentees.

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