Caoimhín Kelleher has waited a long time to deputise for world class Alisson. His patience should be reciprocated.…
WE’RE approaching the time of year when consumerism takes over.
Life can be pretty set. Everything can generally work. But we look around and believe there are better gadgets to play with.
Liverpool both gave and took against LASK last night. The scoreline suggested gluttony on their part, but it was a more reciprocal affair than the headline suggests.
Both Caoimhín Kelleher and Jarell Quansah played integral roles in ensuring there was no early Christmas miracle in L4 and Liverpool topped their Europa League group as expected.
In both, there were moments when you could see genuine maturity and a shifting of body which mimicked both Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk in how they defended.
They’re not those players, of course. Although Quansah has been a quiet success of 2023-24 in that he looks every inch of quality you’d have wanted Liverpool to go and buy as fourth or fifth choice centre-back.
Kelleher, however, has found himself in a slightly more peculiar space, notably among some supporters’ perceptions of him in recent months.
Doubts about his ceiling and general ability have surfaced after a couple of what were, in truth, nothing less than six out of ten performances last season.
He is entitled to them and has mitigation in the form of he’s not a regular performer for Liverpool because one of the world’s very best plays in front of him.
There are also the games he was selected in to factor. His only league start came in the lost 4-4 on the final day against Southampton.
Kelleher’s most appearances in a single campaign before this one came in 2021-21, when he played eight games of the quadruple push. He is currently already on seven.
With Alisson’s muscle strain ruling him out for what is hoped to be only weeks, Kelleher will most likely have broken this appearance record by Christmas and have a much higher calibre of league experience under his belt.
Two Premier League appearances in 2021-22 provided the only real statistical view we have of him. He outperformed league average on certain things like shot stopping (in the 97 percentile). But could improve on factors like positive outcomes (41 to 54 percentile).
The 25-year-old exists in an odd space of not having the rhythm and momentum Jürgen Klopp insists on mentioning when talking about form, but also something else.
Goalkeepers are a rare commodity. Their barometer of quality and perception can shift quickly with supporters and pundits alike.
Sometimes you see this seep into decision making at clubs. Financial complexity excused, how many Manchester United supporters, and potentially players, would have David De Gea in goal right now over Andre Onana?
More pertinently, how much better off would United, Arsenal and Chelsea all be if they didn’t change tack and decide they can do things differently?
There is an ever-increasing notion that we have no idea what we want from goalkeepers like Kelleher, but we know exactly what we don’t want.
Of course, what we really want is an immortal Alisson. To remain in leggings and gorgeous Liverpool black with his array of styles forevermore and sort everything goalkeeping related.
Right now, Liverpool have a more than able deputy who shouldn’t invoke any panic or unjust criticism when called on simply because he isn’t the other fella.
We’ve just entered the month of big shiny things wrapped up in a bow. The month where we think we can have the next best gadget and it’s better than what we already have.
Mostly, it isn’t and we’re just bored, at worst greedy. There’s a beauty in looking around and nurturing what is already there. It should be something to savour.
Kelleher has waited to deputise. His patience should be reciprocated.