The lowdown: So far so good
Added to the Reds’ youth ranks as a teenager from Ringmahon Rangers, the 23-year-old made a combined 51 appearances for the under-23 and under-18 sides prior to becoming a regular part of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team plans.
The Cork native has made 17 senior outings for the Anfield club so far, playing a major role in the Carabao Cup success last season and also becoming a fully-fledged Republic of Ireland international.
Despite those personal achievements and a report from The Athletic claiming that the Irishman is part of the long-term plan, Kelleher remains the understudy to Alisson at Liverpool, but one pundit has backed the talented Irishman to stay put…
The latest: ‘Will get opportunities’
Speaking to Football Insider, Robinson – who contributes as a pundit for Sky Sports – has insisted that the Reds must keep the 23-year-old, with reports last month claiming that the Liverpool stopper may want to move elsewhere to get more game-time.
The former England goalkeeper said of Kelleher: “It is imperative that they keep him from a Liverpool point of view. He is so young. He has shown the ability that he has got. There is no doubt about it, he has the ability to play week in, week out as a number one.
“Every Premier League club carries two number one goalkeepers now. It is vitally important that they do because they are playing in so many competitions. Kelleher will get opportunities but it really depends what he wants.
“The number one has changed massively at the big clubs. Managers are not afraid to rotate goalkeepers now. There is always a clear number one at a club but if he is not playing well there is a number two there that the manager is able to put in.”
The verdict: Unfinished business
The pathway to becoming the first choice on Merseyside seems blocked for the foreseeable future given that Alisson is still only 29 years old and in a position whereby players tend to enjoy prolonged careers at the top.
However, Kelleher certainly has what it takes to pressurise the Brazilian for the number one berth and still has plenty to offer the Reds in the short term and in years to come.
Already a serial trophy winner, the eight-cap Irishman – who was dubbed ‘outstanding’ by Klopp for two penalty saves against Leicester City last season en route to Carabao Cup glory – has proven in his short career to be of the level required to perform on a consistent basis, and that could eventually force a move away.
Furthermore, having not been named in the Liverpool travelling party for their pre-season tour of the far east, there could well be concerns over whether the £7.2m-valued Kelleher is indeed content with a continued backup role at Anfield.
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