'He'll be a household name' - Exclusive: Manager wowed by barely-seen Liverpool starlet
Alex McLeish has been left raving after Caoimhin Kelleher kept a clean sheet against Ajax for Liverpool in the Champions League.
The former Aston Villa and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the 22-year-old will have significantly boosted his profile with his performance against the Dutch giants.
The 22-year-old stepped in to make his first appearance of the season in Tuesday’s 1-0 win after first-choice shot-stopper Allison suffered a hamstring injury in training.
The youngster was chosen to deputise for the Brazilian ahead of Adrian and Jurgen Klopp suggested he needed the Irish starlet’s ball-playing abilities against Ajax.
McLeish has lauded Kelleher for his performance and insisted the Liverpool boss will have been delighted with what he saw.
McLeish told Football Insider: “There’s a lot of plus points for the lads that have come in, including the goalkeeper getting a shut-out on Tuesday night.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“We know it had been cited in the pad two or three years that Liverpool had goalkeeping problems and he solved that with Alisson but you’ve got to get the backup right, at some stage Alisson’s not gonna play and to be fair to the goalkeeper on Tuesday, he’s got a plus point, a gold star for getting a shut out.
“He’s not a household name but for him to go in there and do that, he will be – I’m sure a lot of people know his name today. Klopp will be so relieved to get through to the next stage without any fuss now, without throwing in one of his big guns when they need much-needed rest and much-needed medical attention.”
Kelleher has made five first-team appearances for Liverpool so far, all of which have come in cup competitions.
He has been on the bench twice in the Premier League this season, while he has also been left as an unused substitute in the Republic of Ireland’s eight international games.
In other Liverpool news, Anfield favourite tipped for 2021 exit after “phenomenal” claim.