Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has praised Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for giving young ‘keeper Caoimhin Kelleher first team opportunities this season and feels that the experience will stand to the player.
The 20-year-old made his competitive debut for the Reds in the Carabao Cup against MK Dons in September and was also in goal against Arsenal last week in the subsequent round of that competition. [via TransferMarkt]
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Speaking to Football Insider, Robinson believes that Klopp has done the right thing by giving Kelleher first team exposure this season, especially after a calf injury sidelined fellow goalkeeper Alisson for more than two months, as per TransferMarkt.
Robinson told Football Insider: “Obviously the manager rates him, he’s got Adrian there but he’s played a lot with Alisson being out injured. The manager obviously thought, in keeping with the rest of the youngsters, he thought it would be good to give him a game.
“It’s a huge pat on the back for him and shows what the manager thinks of him and it’s very good man-management actually because should one of the first-choice two goalkeepers get injured, he’s there, he’s got a little bit of experience.
“The likelihood of both of your goalkeepers getting injured is highly unlikely but should he been needed to play in an important game, he’s done it now. I suspect he might even play him in the next round after the draw they’ve got.”
After seeing Adrian incur an ankle injury in August that threatened to rule him out of a Premier League clash at Southampton just after Alisson got injured (as per The Independent), it’s not hard to agree with Robinson’s view that Klopp was right to give Kelleher experience in case a similar situation arises in future.
Only last night, Manchester City had to put defender Kyle Walker in goal against Atalanta after Ederson picked up a muscular injury and substitute goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was sent off (as per Sky Sports), so it can happen that a team could be deprived of two ‘keepers at once.
Also, Robinson’s suggestion that Kelleher could be selected in the Carabao Cup again is quite understandable given that the quarter-final tie against Aston Villa falls the day before Liverpool play in the Club World Cup semi-finals in Qatar, with the club confirming that they will have two separate squads for those two games.
If the Reds beat Napoli in their next Champions League match, they will have won their group with a match to spare, which could again present an opportunity for the young Irish goalkeeper to feature against Red Bull Salzburg next month in that instance.
In addition to the games that he has played, Kelleher has also been on the bench for several Premier League and Champions League matches, which has given him plenty of exposure to a first team environment and demonstrated that the door is open to him to feature if needed.
Therefore, it would seem that Robinson is right in saying that Klopp has handled the youngster well, giving him first team opportunities at a steady rate so that he’s unlikely to be fazed if he’s required at short notice in case either Alisson or Adrian are unavailable.
Liverpool fans, do you agree with Robinson’s views about Klopp’s handling of Kelleher? Tell us what you think by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!