Jamie Carragher on Caoimhin Kelleher.
Jamie Carragher has stated that Caoimhin Kelleher shouldn’t play in the Carabao Cup Final, if Liverpool progress that far.
The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper has played in two out of Liverpool’s three matches in their run to the semi-final, but has been left on the bench for Thursday’s night’s first leg encounter with Arsenal at Anfield.
Prior to the game, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp explained that while the Carabao Cup is “Caoimh’s competition,” first-choice Alisson Becker “needs the game now,” after missing some football recently due to a positive Covid-19 test.
Despite Kelleher performing heroics by saving two penalties in a shootout victory over Leicester City in the quarter-final, Carragher now believes that it’s time for the Brazilian to take over.
Jamie Carragher: “First-choice goalie has to play..”
“Alisson is coming back in because he actually hasn’t played an awful lot of football,” the former Liverpool defender said in his role as a Sky Sports pundit, ahead of Thursday night’s game.
“Otherwise, Kelleher would have played. For me, and we saw it last night with Tottenham, I do not agree with it at all.
“I think once you get to a semi-final your first-choice goalkeeper has to play, I don’t understand it. I understand giving games in the early rounds because you’ve got to keep you number two, fresh.
“If he’s needed, maybe in the Premier League, you’ve got to keep them happy. Also, I get all that, but it’s too important when you get into the business end of cup competitions for me. And the most important thing is not keeping a player happy. It is winning trophies for football clubs and keeping your supporters happy.
“I’d prefer if Alisson was to play in the semi-finals, and if you get to the final – he should play again. But I don’t expect that to happen.”
Caoimhin Kelleher heroics.
Prior to the win over Leicester, Kelleher also played in the third round victory over Norwich City, in which he saved a penalty from Christos Tzolis on his way to a clean sheet.
After missing the fourth round victory over Preston North End due to illness, he was brought back in for that dramatic win over the Foxes, and performed well again when deputising for Alisson in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Chelsea earlier this month.
With first-team opportunities limited, Kelleher is bound to disagree with Carragher’s point of view, particularly as he has helped Liverpool get this far in the competition.
The Corkman has medals to his name in both the Champions League and Uefa Super Cup but played no part on the pitch as Liverpool achieved those successes in 2019.
The chance to lift a trophy at Wembley in February, having played 90 minutes, is surely one that Kelleher won’t give up without a fight.