Paul Merson has backed Caoimhin Kelleher to develop into a crucial player for Liverpool.
Caoimhin Kelleher made headlines this week with an incredible performance in his Champions League debut, keeping a clean sheet and making a number of top saves against Ajax.
The best save of Kelleher’s bunch came late on, when the young Irishman displayed remarkable reflexes to keep out Ajax substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) December 1, 2020
And Paul Merson, who was covering the Champions League game on Sky Sports, showered the 22-year-old with praise and predicted that Kelleher will prove to be an important player when it comes to winning games for the Reds.
“I am not going to use this word loosely but that was an absolute worldie,” Merson said of the Huntelaar save. “He’s only six yards out and it was a great reaction from the ‘keeper.
“He has had an unbelievable night. That was a world-class save. Honestly, his reaction’s different class. He’s going to win them games.
“The goalie should be very pleased. He was absolutely outstanding in everything he did tonight. He made two top saves and everything else was superb.”
With first-choice Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker struggling with a muscle injury, many expected Adrian to start against Ajax but Jurgen Klopp opted for the Corkman.
Klopp hinted that Kelleher’s ability with the ball at his feet was the reason he was selected for Tuesday’s 1-0 win and the shot-stopper, whose phone has been hopping since the performance, justified the selection in some style.
Klopp rushed to embrace Kelleher after the game and it’s quite possible that the youngster elevated himself to the role of Liverpool’s new No. 2.
“I would say so,” Merson said when asked if Kelleher might have leapfrogged Adrian with his performance. “I thought he was very confident for a young lad. 22, for a goalkeeper, is very, very young.
“There aren’t too many world-class ‘keepers at 22 but this lad was very good.”