Premier League • England

Liverpool line up England one-cap wonder to replace ‘world class’ star they’ll reluctantly let go

Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, Liverpool badge

Liverpool are eyeing up a one-cap England international available as a free agent

Liverpool have joined Newcastle and Celtic in chasing a soon-to-be free agent who could replace a ‘world class’ Reds star they’ll reluctantly let leave, according to reports.

Incoming Liverpool manager Arne Slot could immediately be faced with a dilemma in the goalkeeping position. Alisson Becker is the undisputed No 1 and among the world’s best in his position. However, just like Ederson over at Manchester City, Alisson has become a key target for the Saudi Pro League.

Liverpool will be reluctant in the extreme to part ways with the 31-year-old. If the Brazilian doesn’t push to leave, Liverpool will almost certainly retain their star stopper.

Providing stellar back-up to Alisson more than he would’ve expected this season has been No 2 Caoimhin Kelleher.

Indeed, the 25-year-old has racked up 26 appearances across all competitions including 10 outings in the Premier League.

Kelleher’s displays have been to such a high standard this year that he was even branded ‘world class’ by Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk. Jurgen Klopp was also forthcoming with lofty praise.

“We have the best goalkeeper in the world, and we have the best number two in the world,” declared Klopp earlier in the season.

Van Dijk said: “I have always said [Kelleher] is world class and he stepped up today, again. It’s good to see.

“He’s a good boy, good goalkeeper and that’s what we need at a club like Liverpool.”

Kelleher wants regular starts

However, reports claim Kelleher believes the time is right in his career to become a regular starter. Given the presence of Alisson – who is contracted at Anfield until 2027 – Kelleher’s ambitions are unlikely to be realised if staying put.

Liverpool won’t stand in Kelleher’s way if he does ask to leave. The Irishman was the subject of a £15m bid from Nottingham Forest in January and is also on Wolves’ radar.

READ MORE: The key contract details of every Liverpool first-team player: Expiry dates, weekly wages, agents…

Liverpool’s No 3 is Spanish veteran Adrian, though he’s expected to follow Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara out as free agents this summer.

As such, and in the event Kelleher does leave, a new back-up to Alisson will be required.

One-cap wonder eyed as No 2 to Alisson

According to a fresh update from the Daily Mail, Southampton’s Alex McCarthy, 34, is on Liverpool’s radar.

McCarthy – who won his lone cap for England way back in 2018 – is approaching the end of his contract with the Saints.

McCarthy will become a free agent at season’s end and his experience and availability appeal to Liverpool.

The Mail added Newcastle as well as Scottish giants Celtic are also circling over McCarthy. The latter must replace the retiring Joe Hart, while Newcastle have doubts over their current deputies to Nick Pope (Martin Dubravka, Loris Karius).

Joining Celtic would come with the guarantee of regular first-team football for McCarthy. Opting for the Reds or Magpies would mean taking a seat on the bench and settling for outings in the cup competitions.

Nonetheless, Liverpool and Newcastle would be able to offer more lucrative terms than Celtic and in McCarthy they know they’ll be signing a dependable performer.