Alisson injury scuppered Eredivisie move for Caoimhin Kelleher – “He wants to go on loan”

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For the second summer running, injury to Alisson contrived to deny Caoimhin Kelleher a loan move, with the Irishman having been eager to head to the Eredivisie this time.

Kelleher is in his third season with the Liverpool first team, having joined from Ringmahon Rangers and progressed through the ranks from the under-18s.

But despite this, the goalkeeper has made just four appearances so far, three in the League Cup and one in the FA Cup, having found himself behind Alisson and Adrian in the pecking order.

A loan exit was fated last summer, only for Alisson to suffer a calf injury that ruled him out for two months and thrust Adrian into the starting side, with Kelleher a regular on the substitutes’ bench.

This time around, it was a shoulder injury to the Reds’ No. 1 that handed the 21-year-old more matchday experience, but at this stage he “wants to go on loan.”

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny claimed as much as he discussed Kelleher’s prospects as his future No. 1, revealing that a move to the Eredivisie collapsed due to Alisson‘s injury – and otherwise, he would be in contention for a starting spot.

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Sunday, October 11, 2020: Republic of Ireland's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Nations League Group Stage League B Group 4 match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium. The game ended in a 0-0 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“In training, [Ireland goalkeeping coach] Alan Kelly can’t believe how good Caoimhin Kelleher is. He hadn’t appreciated how good he is,” Kenny told reporters ahead of Thursday’s friendly against England.

“We really need Caoimhin Kelleher to get matches under his belt because he is ready to play for us now, we feel.

“He is good enough to play for Ireland. But he is not playing matches so it is an issue.

“He was supposed to go on loan to Holland, to a couple of clubs in the Eredivisie in the last window but when the first choice got injured at Liverpool, that move was pulled.

“He wants to go on loan, he was ready to play and certainly we feel we would have benefited from that.

“But it’s not easy to play at Liverpool, they are world champions at club level aren’t they, so it’s not easy to play there.”

WIGAN, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 22, 2020: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher prepares to face a penalty-kick during the EFL Trophy Northern Group D match between Wigan Athletic and Liverpool FC Under-21's at the DW Stadium. Wigan Athletic won 6-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kenny is right to acknowledge that it is “not easy” to get game time at Liverpool, as Jurgen Klopp is never likely to throw an inexperienced player into the side in goal if he has other options available.

Kelleher’s opportunities have come in domestic cups, but with the Reds out of this season’s League Cup – and Adrian having started both games in that competition – his next chance could be in the FA Cup third round in January.

More recently, he has been turning out for the under-23s, while Vitezslav Jaros has travelled as third goalkeeper with the first team – the Czech himself was injured at the start of the season, which may have also influenced the decision not to loan out Kelleher.

At some point, Liverpool’s No. 62 is going to need regular game time, and though it is a precarious position given Alisson‘s injury history, it may be wise to allow him to leave on loan for the second half of 2020/21.

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