Premier League • England

Klopp ‘fears’ trusted Liverpool star will leave and handpicks replacement from Championship

Ibrahima Konate, Caoimhin Kelleher and Jarell Quansah

Ibrahima Konate, Caoimhin Kelleher and Jarell Quansah before a Liverpool game

Liverpool are now being linked with a surprise successor to Caoimhin Kelleher in the backup goalkeeper role in case 2024 is the year that the Irishman finally leaves the club.

Kelleher has been Liverpool’s main deputy to no.1 goalkeeper Alisson Becker for three or four years after climbing above Adrian in the pecking order. It is surprising for some that Kelleher is still at the club at the age of 25 – not because he isn’t good enough for them, but because he is too good for the backup role he is stuck in while Alisson is at the club.

No one would suggest Kelleher deserves to play more than Alisson. However, he is a better player than the fact he has just seven Premier League appearances under his belt would suggest.

Jurgen Klopp has closed the door on a January departure for his no.2, but ‘fears’ Kelleher could leave the club this year, according to The Sun.

The report claims Kelleher remains a target for Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, for example, two years ahead of his contract expiring.

In case of Kelleher’s departure, Liverpool would need to find a new backup goalkeeper, given that Adrian is not a long-term solution.

On that front, Klopp is tipped to have identified Sunderland’s Anthony Patterson as someone Liverpool could pick up from the Championship.

Patterson is a product of Sunderland’s academy and has been their main goalkeeper since early 2022, helping them win promotion from League One and consolidate their place in the second tier.

He was ever-present for them in the Championship last season as they reached the play-offs at the first time of asking since their return to the berth below the Premier League.

This season, Patterson has once again failed to miss a single minute of league action, conceding just 30 goals from 27 Championship appearances.

His performances seem to have caught the attention of Liverpool, but Sunderland still have him under contract at the Stadium of Light until 2028.

The report does not mention any kind of asking price set by the Black Cats for their no.1.

Patterson would play less at Liverpool

If Liverpool’s interest turned out to be genuine, Patterson would have to consider whether he would be happy to reduce his playing time if it meant stepping up to a more powerful club.

Not turning 24 until May, he is still a young goalkeeper who could learn his trade further in the Liverpool setup.

But playing on a frequent basis remains a vital way for players to develop and since Alisson is under contract on Merseyside until 2027, Patterson would have to adjust his expectations of gametime by joining a club like Liverpool.

It is not yet clear if he has any other suitors willing to lift him up to the top flight. It is also worth remembering that Sunderland are on the fringes of pushing for the play-offs again as they aim to get back in the Premier League for the first time since 2016-17.

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