Premier League • England

‘World class’ Liverpool star ‘wants to leave’, as Reds firm up plans to sign ex-Man City man as replacement

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher

Kelleher is expected to leave Liverpool who have lined up his Premier League-based replacement

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is expected to push for a summer exit in order to become a starter elsewhere, and a report claims the Reds have already lined up a former Manchester City star to take his place.

Kelleher, 25, has saved Liverpool’s skin on countless occasions this season. The Republic of Ireland international serves as chief back-up to Alisson Becker, though numerous injuries suffered by the Brazilian has resulted in Kelleher making 26 appearances.

The stopper would have been in line to feature in the Europa League and League Cup anyway. However, Alisson’s various absences have allowed Kelleher to rack up two outings in the FA Cup and 10 games in the Premier League.

Kelleher has astounded viewers with his elite shot-stopping abilities. He’s also displayed a calmness in possession that translates to playing in a top tier side who generally dominate the ball and include their goalkeeper in building attacks from the back.

Indeed, 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.”

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Kelleher wants starting role – report

However, according to online outlet Football Insider, Kelleher feels the time is right to spread his wings and become a regular starter. Given the presence of Alisson, that cannot happen at Anfield.

FI state Liverpool ‘expect’ Kelleher to push for a summer exit. The Daily Mail previously stated that if Kelleher does ask to leave, then Liverpool ‘would likely not stand in Kelleher’s way.’

The Reds reportedly value the Irishman around the £20m mark and given his stellar displays this term, interest could be widespread.

Wolves previously explored the signing of Kelleher last summer, though FI stated Jurgen Klopp blocked the move. Furthermore, the Athletic noted Nottingham Forest failed with a £15m bid for the stopper in January.

Given Kelleher’s importance to the Reds this term, retaining Kelleher certainly appears to have been a wise decision.

But the outcome will reportedly be different this summer and a subsequent update from Football Insider revealed who Liverpool could sign as Kelleher’s replacement.

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England hero eyed as replacement

They stated Liverpool are showing ‘concrete interest’ in Burnley keeper James Trafford.

The 21-year-old joined the Clarets from Man City in a deal rising to £19m last summer. Trafford hasn’t enjoyed the best of campaigns this year, though very players few have in a difficult season at Turf Moor.

Trafford rose to prominence when starring for England at the 2023 Under-21 European Championships.

Trafford did not concede a single goal in the entire tournament – which England won – and the keeper also saved a stoppage time penalty as well as the rebound in the final.

FI stated Liverpool have regularly scouted Trafford this term and he tops their shortlist of replacement signings if Kelleher departs.

In the event Burnley suffer relegation it stands to reason Trafford would be easier to sign. However, Liverpool would have to convince Trafford to relinquish a starting role and prepare for life on the bench at Anfield.

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