Caoimhin Kelleher has revealed what Jurgen Klopp told him last summer in order to convince him to remain at Liverpool.

Having made just 21 senior appearances for the Reds this time 12 months ago, it was understandable that the Irishman may have felt the urge to try his luck at establishing himself elsewhere. He duly spoke to the manager, who made it clear how much he wanted the Cork native at Anfield.

In an interview with The Athletic, the 25-year-old stated: “I wouldn’t say I was pushing (to leave) last summer but saying, ‘Look, I need to kick on for my career’. Jurgen said, ‘If anything happens to Ali, we really need you to be there’. It worked out for the best this season because I played 26 games.”

The status of being a backup goalkeeper can be challenging, especially when the man with whom you’re vying for a starting berth happens to be perhaps the world’s best exponent in his position.

Kelleher might’ve been willing to bide his time when he was starting out as a senior footballer, but now that he’s into his mid-20s, it’s natural that he wants to be playing regularly rather than running the risk of seeing his career pass by before his eyes.

Conversely, Klopp was quite justified in not wanting to lose such a dependable player, and his stance was vindicated when Alisson Becker was sidelined for two months through injury between February and April.

That duly gave the Irishman his first prolonged run in the Liverpool starting XI, an opportunity that he duly seized, and he may be glad that the manager persuaded him to stay during that sliding doors conversation last summer.

We can be very grateful to Kelleher for staying put, and it duly turned out that he was very much needed during the 2023/24 season. As much as we’d love him to continue serving the Anfield cause, he’s proven that he deserves to be an emphatic first-choice goalkeeper at a high level.

If this is the year that he moves on, he’d depart with everyone’s best wishes.

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2024-05-29T13:29:38Z dg43tfdfdgfd