By Matt Farr
Former goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has revealed he urged Liverpool to sign Jordan Pickford 18 months ago.
The 23-year-old was in impressive form for Sunderland last season, making a number of key saves despite their relegation from the Premier League.
His performances attracted widespread attention ahead of the upcoming 2017-18 campaign, including reported interest from Kirkland’s former employers, Liverpool.
Kirkland had brought the England Under-21 star to the club’s attention even before his exploits last season, but the Premier League giants failed to heed his advice, as Pickford sealed a move to rivals Everton last week.
Pickford joined Everton for a club record fee of £30million, becoming the most-expensive English goalkeeper of all-time, and Kirkland admits Liverpool could have snapped him up for much less.
Speaking live on Sky Sports 1’s coverage of England’s U21 European Championship clash with Slovakia on Monday, he said: “I told Liverpool to sign him 18 months ago because they could have got him a lot cheaper.”
Liverpool endured a few shaky moments in the goalkeeping department last season, with Jurgen Klopp forced to rotate his options on at least two occasions.
Klopp had brought young stopper Loris Karius to the club last summer as the club’s new No.1, following another inconsistent season from Simon Mignolet.
The Belgian international had played the first five Premier League games for the club, only to be replaced by Liverpool’s new signing for the foreseeable future.
However, Karius also struggled and Mignolet was swiftly recalled to the line-up, where he remained for the rest of the season.
But their continued concerns in between the sticks triggered heavy speculation that Klopp would consider adding yet another goalkeeper to his ranks this summer, although he has since insisted he is satisfied with his options.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Reds are reportedly in a four-way battle to sign this 21-year-old attacking sensation.