Despite the news of Adrian’s contract extension, Caoimhin Kelleher is still considered Liverpool’s number two, behind Alisson Becker. According to James Pearce of the Athletic, the Irishman will also receive a new contract at the club which will confirm his number two status. The news comes as no surprise, too, after the young goalkeeper filled in with relative ease when Alisson was not available.
As for Adrian, he quite literally fumbled the backup position, allowing Kelleher to grasp hold of his opportunity. And, ever since he received that chance, Kelleher has not looked back. The shotstopper kept a clean sheet and won in his Champions League debut, keeping Liverpool in the game at times against Ajax. He also kept a clean sheet against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 4-0 victory before drawing with Brighton & Hove Albion.
In those games alone, Kelleher did more than enough to convince Jurgen Klopp of his ability in abundance. With Alisson’s injury prone nature, too, an adequate backup goalkeeper is a must. And Kelleher is more than adequate enough.
Caoimhin Kelleher Still Second in Line at Liverpool Despite Adrian Contract
Ability on the Ball the Key Difference
When assessing both Adrian and Kelleher, the latter ticks all the boxes of the skills a young goalkeeper needs. His shotstopping ability is as you would expect, often making saves look far simpler than they originally seem in similar fashion to Alisson himself. The big and most crucial difference between him and Adrian, however, is their work on the ball.
On the ball, Adrian rarely looks comfortable. If you cast your minds back to the 19/20 season, it was his distribution that cost Liverpool in the Champions League last 16 against Atletico Madrid. The Spaniard also made similar mistakes with his feet against Southampton and in the embarrassing 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa.
In contrast, Caoimhin Kelleher is yet to make a mistake with the ball at his feet. In fact, the only mistake he has made in a Liverpool shirt came in the Champions League against Midtjylland when he conceded a controversial penalty. Crucially, however, on the ball, the Irish international has been almost immaculate, completing an average of 32.8 passes per game with a completing rate of 71%.
In comparison, Adrian completed an average of 27.3 passes per game in the season just gone, perhaps giving us an indication of just how much his Liverpool teammates are willing to play it back to the Spaniard.
Caoimhin Kelleher: Liverpool’s future Number One
Kelleher hit numbers similar to Alisson last season, albeit with less data to go off due Kelleher’s significantly less amount of appearances. And perhaps Jurgen Klopp sees these similarities, too. It may just be a case of fine tuning Kelleher as an overall goalkeeper. He has a long way to go in order to match Alisson’s quality, but what better way to gradually bridge the gap than by learning from him?
The Brazilian certainly sets the standards when it comes to passing. In the season just gone, he completed 30.4 passes per game with an accuracy of 83.7%. Caoimhin Kelleher will be desperate to keep on improving and fulfil what seems his destiny to become the future number one.
Embed from Getty Images