SINGAPORE - Wednesday, August 2, 2023: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern Munich FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Bayern won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pep Lijnders hopes “world-class” Caoimhin Kelleher stays “for a long time”

Pepijn Lijnders has described Liverpool’s reserve goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher as “world-class” and admitted that the club are “really happy” he is still at Anfield.

Kelleher featured four times in the Reds’ League Cup-winning 2021/22 campaign and is widely expected to start in the third round of this season’s competition against Leicester.

While he didn’t confirm that this would be the case on Wednesday night, Lijnders did heap praise on the Reds’ No. 2 stopper as he previewed the contest.

“He has a long-term contract. For me, he could play for any Premier League team. He’s just a world-class goalkeeper,” Linjders told reporters in his pre-Leicester press conference.

“He’s not a talent anymore, he’s just a world-class goalkeeper but he needs game time. It was a really good thing that he stayed with us, that Jurgen could give him perspective. We’re really happy he is with us.

“You want every position with top ones who can play any kind of game. Whatever happens, we can put Caoimhin in and the game will not change a lot.

“He’s calm with his feet, he knows where to bring the ball, he can read it and he is exceptional in one-on-one situations.

“We are happy he is with us, and hopefully he stays for a long time.”

LINZ, AUSTRIA - Thursday, September 21, 2023: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 1 game between LASK and Liverpool FC at the Raiffeisen Arena. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kelleher is under contract at Anfield until 2026 and he has been given a number of opportunities in domestic cup competitions during his time on Merseyside.

The Irishman has made 22 appearances in all competitions for the Reds, his first coming back in September 2019 in a 2-0 League Cup win away at MK Dons.

He was the subject of reported interest from various Premier League clubs over the summer, but he elected to remain at the club despite finding himself firmly behind Alisson in the pecking order.

Whether interested parties come back in for the 24-year-old at the end of the season remains to be seen, but he is clearly held in high regard at Liverpool despite featuring less frequently than he would likely hope at this stage of his career.