Some really nice words from the Liverpool manager.
Jurgen Klopp has beautifully explained why he made the decision to start Caoimhin Kelleher against Chelsea instead of first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Klopp has often described Alisson as the best keeper in the world, so it wouldn’t have been surprising if he went with the Brazilian instead of the Irishman for the big game.
Thomas Tuchel played his first-choice keeper instead of Kepa Arrizabalaga, though the Spaniard did make an unfortunate appearance for the penalty shootout.
Klopp said that Kelleher “deserved” the start, after keeping two clean sheets against Arsenal in the semi-final games, and saving a penalty to win the quarter-final against Leicester.
Jurgen Klopp on Caoimhin Kelleher
Speaking immediately after the game, he said: “Look, I think that even in professional football, there should be space for some sentiment, to be honest. He’s a young boy, we’ve asked him to do a lot, he gets the whole competition and then in the final I tell him no you don’t play?
“I am two things. A professional football manager and a human being. And the human being won this time. It’s so nice that it paid off. He deserves it.”
Klopp also explained what Alisson said when he found out that Kelleher was going to play ahead of him.
He said: “When we told Ali’ that he will not play, we have a wall at the goalkeeping area, where all the goalkeepers are who have won something. When we told him he will not play he said ‘Oh great, if we win it, we can put Caoimh’ on it as well’.
“That’s exactly how it should be.”
Jurgen Klopp and Caoimhin Kelleher
After his heroics on Sunday, it’s likely that the next time Kelleher features for Liverpool will be in the 5th Round of the FA Cup.
Liverpool have a home game against Norwich on Wednesday 2 March, and while the league and Champions League will likely remain Alisson’s, another cup run in the FA Cup would be brilliant experience for Kelleher.
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