Is Kelleher the best backup keeper in world football?

Is Kelleher the best backup keeper in world football?

Liverpool are blessed with two world-class goalkeepers in Alisson and Kelleher, but is Caoimhin Kelleher too good to be a No.2, and how long can Liverpool keep hold of him?

Over the years Liverpool have been blessed with some amazing goalkeepers. From Ray Clemence to Bruce Grobbelar, Pepe Reina to Alisson Becker, the most successful teams have always had an excellent keeper between the sticks.

But what happens when you have two world-class goalkeepers in the same squad?  That's the problem facing Jurgen Klopp at the moment and one that his successor will have to deal with as well.

Alisson and Kelleher are both world-class keepers

There, I said it - Caoimhin Kelleher is a world-class goalkeeper.  Despite playing just 39 senior games for Liverpool, the young Irishman is amongst the best keepers in the world.  Of the 20 sides in the Premier League, only Manchester City would turn down the chance to sign Kelleher, and even then, they would probably sign him just to stop him from playing for one of their rivals.

And at just 25 years of age, Kelleher has another 6 - 8 years before he reaches his peak.  Alisson is currently 31 years of age, six years older than Kelleher.  Just think how good Kelleher could be with another six years of experience and coaching.  His potential is frightening!

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saves from Chelsea's Conor Gallagher in the Carabao Cup FInal

During the recent Carabao Cup Final against Chelsea Kelleher made a total of nine saves, as well as three clearances.  His save from Conor Gallagher was excellent, but his point-blank save from Cole Palmer was stunning and changed the whole course of the Final.

In the games since the Final, against Southampton and Nottingham Forest, Kelleher has made countless saves to keep Liverpool in the game, and if we go on to win further silverware this season, it will have much to do with our Irish goalkeeper.

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How long can Liverpool keep hold of Kelleher?

With Liverpool's No.1 Alisson set for an extended spell on the sidelines, Kelleher can expect plenty of game time over the coming weeks, with Liverpool playing vital games against Man City in the league, Man Utd in the FA Cup and Sparta Prague in the Europa League.  But when Alisson returns to full fitness, he will most likely go straight back into the squad, regardless of how well Kelleher has performed in his absence.  That is the problem with being a backup to the best goalkeeper in the world.

So how long can Liverpool keep Kelleher happy?

Kelleher has already played in (and won) two Carabao Cup Finals, as well as getting a Champions League, FA Cup, and Premier League Winners medal.  By the end of this season, he may have won another Premier League Title, FA Cup and Europa League.

And if he stays at Liverpool, he will certainly be challenging for more top honours in the coming seasons, even without Jurgen Klopp at the helm.  If winning titles is what motivates Kelleher, then Liverpool is the place to be.

But football careers are short. Goalkeepers tend to play on longer than outfield players, but even so, Kelleher probably has another 10 years ahead of him at the top level.  The question is how long is he prepared to be a backup keeper.  If he stays at Liverpool, then next season he will again be the No.2.  As Alisson gets older, he will pick up more injuries, so additional game time will become available to Kelleher, and whoever the new manager is, they will likely play Kelleher in the cup competitions, just as Klopp has done.  Will Kelleher bide his time then, play in the cups (and when Alisson is injured), knowing that in a couple of years, the No.1 jersey at Liverpool will be his?  We certainly hope so.

Whoever takes over next season faces a massive challenge to replace Jurgen Klopp.  There will be many important decisions to be made - but one of the most important is keeping both Alisson and Kelleher at the club.  If that means a new, improved contract for Kelleher then it will be a small price to pay - to have two world-class goalkeepers in our squad!

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... About The Author ...

Peter Farrell :: LFC - Back On Our Perch Author and Editor

Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 487

Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.

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