Premier League • England

Liverpool talent in tough backup task explains plan to ‘push’ his superior

Adrian, Caoimhin Kelleher, Alisson Becker

Caoimhin Kelleher says he wants to “push” Alisson as much as he can at Liverpool, but his main task is still to “learn” from the number one ahead of him in the pecking order.

Liverpool have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Alisson. Therefore, being his backup is not an easy task for a player looking to progress. At the age of 22, Kelleher has made 10 appearances for the senior team, sharing deputy duties with Adrian.

It now seems Kelleher has overtaken the more senior Spaniard in the hierarchy of goalkeepers. However, dislodging Alisson will be a seemingly impossible task – especially with the Brazilian under contract until 2027.

Even so, Republic of Ireland international Kelleher is hoping to keep working for his chances. He believes he is getting good guidance, especially from the experienced members of the Liverpool squad.

“The senior players are quite complimentary here,” Kelleher told the official Liverpool FC magazine.

“They’ll let you know if you’re doing well and that’s good because it boosts your confidence as well when you hear players of their stature giving you praise.”

Kelleher may well have to wait for opportunities in cup competitions. For instance, he most recently appeared for the club in a Carabao Cup win over Norwich City, in which he saved a penalty.

With the club competing on several fronts, he knows how high their ambitions ought to be.

From his own perspective, he is aiming to learn from the journey and is ready to keep Alisson on his toes along the way.

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“A club like us, a team like us, we want to be challenging for the Premier League, the Champions League and everything we can,” Kelleher said.

“We want to go into every game giving it 100 per cent, like we always do, and see where it takes us.

“I just want to push Alisson as far as I can in training every day and to learn as much as I can as well. When I get opportunities to play I want to do the best I can and just keep performing well.”

Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has confirmed that Kelleher will make his first senior start for his country on Tuesday, in a friendly against Qatar.

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It will be his second cap for his country, but the first time he has played for them from the start.

“Caoimhin is a really natural goalkeeper,” Kenny said at a press conference. “He’s such a terrific talent.

“He played 10 times for me as Under-21s manager, so I’m well aware of his qualities and he’s done terrifically.

“He was just unfortunate last season when he was injured and that opened the door in March for Gavin Bazunu, who’s been terrific.

“Caoimhin made his debut at half-time in the game against Hungary, but this is his first start tomorrow and in front of a home crowd, and he deserves it.”

Adrian on way out at Anfield?

Adrian Liverpool FC TEAMtalk

While Kelleher, who signed a new contract in the summer until 2026, will be hoping to become more prominent in Liverpool’s plans over time, the opposite should occur with Adrian.

The former West Ham goalkeeper was something of a surprise signing when brought in to cover for Alisson. Despite some decent performances, though, he began to lose form. He has since been overtaken by Kelleher as number two.

Adrian signed a new contract in the summer, lasting until the end of the season by which point he will have turned 35. But it seems it could be his last one with Liverpool.

He recently admitted that the prospect of returning to Real Betis is something he would consider.

“It is not that you want it or not, it is that the circumstances are right,” he told ABC Sevilla.

“Last time, Betis were looking for a goalkeeper and I was free. I got the chance of Liverpool and look, I signed and have already been here for three seasons.

“I will continue fighting there, the competition is getting tougher.

“But I like challenges and I’m still hard at work. What comes in the future we will see.”

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