Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Caoimhin Kelleher will start the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea after his heroic displays against Leicester City and Arsenal in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals.
The 23-year-old has been sublime since coming into the side to cover for Alisson Becker in the start XI and while the Brazilian was available for selection on Thursday when the Reds faced Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Klopp kept his faith in Kelleher.
In his pre-match press conference, Pep Lijnders said: “What’s good is that we have three really good goalkeepers. Caoimhin (Kelleher), massive talent – you cannot call him a talent anymore.”
Despite the final being a month and 5 days from the Carabao Cup final, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Kelleher will start at Wembley against Chelsea and has spared the 1.88 m shot-stopper an anxious wait to find out if he’s in the team or not.
According to the Guardian, Klopp has explained his decision, saying a start for the Irishman in the final is important for his long-term future at the club.
“Caoimhín will play, if he is fit,” he said. “As a football manager you have to consider a lot of things and one of the things is we consider Caoimhín an outstanding goalie.
“Not a good goalie, an outstanding goalie, and we want to keep him here.
“And to keep him you need to make sure of a few things. Before a season you need to think and talk about about the different games he will get.
“It is all about performing of course. If he didn’t perform on the level he performed then I would maybe think differently. But he has shown he deserves all the trust and faith that we have in him.
“I didn’t think about it properly, but my idea in this moment is to play him. I don’t see any reason why we should not do that. Caoimhín deserves that. He brought the team there.”
It’s probably disappointing for Alisson Becker as the club’s no.1 and it’s understandable that some fans would prefer the former AS Roma star to start every game as he’s the best goalkeeper in the world.
Yet Kelleher is not a massive downgrade and is more than capable of becoming a hero for the Reds at Wembley with a huge 1v1 block or as we saw against Leicester City in the last 8, a penalty save or two.