Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has hit back at claims from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp about Caoimhin Kelleher and his injury mystery.
Kelleher came into pre-season off the back of a season of highs and lows at Anfield. While he starred in the Reds’ Carabao Cup triumph, he only made two Premier League appearances all campaign.
The 23-year-old also only played two of Liverpool’s six FA Cup games as they triumphed at Wembley for a second time.
Kelleher was therefore looking to hit the ground running this summer to put the pressure on Liverpool No 1 Alisson Becker. However, he has yet to make a single appearance.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed that Kelleher “felt something” after international duty with Ireland in June. Despite then getting the all-clear, the Reds boss claimed the issue resurfaced.
Speaking in response, though, Ireland manager Kenny has questioned Klopp’s comments on the situation.
“It caught us by surprise I must say,” Kenny told the Belfast Telegraph. “I actually wasn’t aware that he was injured, to be honest with you.
“If he had been injured, he would have been out of training or not training. I’d have comfortably played Mark Travers because he really excelled in the training camp and it looks like he has come up a notch again.
“If Caoimhin wasn’t right, I would have selected Mark with full confidence. That was a surprise to me to see that.”
Klopp will no doubt look to address the situation again ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Fulham on Saturday.
Alisson just failed a fitness test before last Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Manchester City. The Brazilian is likely to start at Craven Cottage, with Adrian on the bench as it stands.
Kelleher faces defining Liverpool season
Kelleher, meanwhile, will hope to return to full fitness soon as he embarks on another uncertain season at Liverpool.
He will of course get game time in the domestic cup competitions.
Such is the dominance of Alisson between the sticks, though, only injury can stop the Brazil star not featuring in Premier League and Champions League matches.
Kelleher only signed a new contract last summer and those terms run until 2026.
Nevertheless, if he fails to improve on his eight appearances last term – he could of course play less if Liverpool do not go all the way in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup – then the 23-year-old may have to seriously consider his future.,