Jurgen Klopp makes Caoimhin Kelleher confession after Europa League clean sheet
Liverpool boss insists he has full confidence in Irish keeper Kelleher with Alisson Becker out with a hamstring problem
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has declared he has full confidence in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher as the Irishman starts his run in the first team with a clean sheet in the 4-0 win against LASK at Anfield.
Kelleher is set for a long-awaited burst of action due to an injury to first choice Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker, with Klopp suggesting his decision to keep his No.2 keeper last summer rather than allow him to go out on loan will now be justified.
Early goals from Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo were enhanced by a second-half Mohamed Salah penalty – his 199th goal for the club – and an added-time strike by Gakpo as Toulouse’s draw with Union Saint-Gilloise means a dreaded round-of-32 play-off was avoided.
Kelleher’s performance convinced Klopp that he is ready to step in for Alisson ahead of what will be a busy few weeks of fixtures for the Reds.
“That’s why we knew we wanted to have Caoimhin here – for these moments,” said Klopp, with Alisson expected to be out for the next couple of weeks with a hamstring issue.
"Nobody wanted Ali to get injured but if these kind of things happen then you need the strongest possible option and that’s Caoimhin for us.
"That’s the only positive about that, to be honest, we can put in Caoimhin and that’s fine.
"Now he gets the opportunity, which he deserves anyway, he would have played tomorrow night anyway, that’s clear. But now he will have a few more games and hopefully he can show his full potential.
“Defensively I have to say we were very strong. We were solid and that is very important. Then we can play football and that's how it is. We were really good in a lot of moments but then we lost rhythm with the changes."
Kelleher looks set for a frantic few weeks of action as Liverpool are about to enter one the busiest periods of the season, with Klopp relieved to wrap up top spot in their Europa League group with a game to spare.
"We are in the beginning of the most intense period of the whole season, that’s how it is,” he added.
"We play now Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday – that’s super-tough. And then I don’t know what the next game is after that but that’s probably Thursday again?
"Crystal Palace is the last game of these four games in a pretty short period of time, so we have to make decisions and I have to make decisions, that’s clear.
"We won there, yes, but we had our struggles in the game, we didn’t forget that. And more important, LASK play a really good season. They have a good way, they look well set up and these kind of things – and we respect that, we always did.
"The most important thing is that we're at the head of the group and that won't change so that's good.
"There was a lot of good stuff and some stuff I didn't like too much, but that's how it is. We say it all the time, we still have to grow and develop. There was some good football but this game should have been put to bed before half-time. If you are on the front foot and in charge then kill it. We didn't do that. At 2-0 and 3-0 great, we opened the game up a little bit and gave them changes. It is fantastic to win 4-0."