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Ireland U21 and Liverpool goalkeeper handed Champions League debut

Regular number one Alisson misses out as a precaution due to a tight leg muscle, paving the way for Caoimhín Kelleher to make a surprise start.

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher (file pic).
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher (file pic).
Image: Martin Rickett

LIVERPOOL HAVE handed a Champions League debut to Irish goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher ahead of their game with Ajax tonight.

Regular number one Alisson misses out as a precaution due to a tight leg muscle, paving the way for the 22-year-old Cork native to make a surprise start.

Kelleher has yet to make his Premier League debut and has so far been restricted to occasional FA Cup and EFL Cup appearances.

Both Alisson and Adrian have been preferred to Kelleher in the past, but the decision to start him tonight indicates the level of faith Jurgen Klopp has in the youngster.

Kelleher has picked up a number of caps for Ireland at underage level, but has yet to play for the senior team.

He has been a part of recent Irish squads, however, with manager Stephen Kenny speaking glowingly of the Ringmahon Rangers youth product.

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In addition to Alisson, Klopp is also without the injured Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner.

Liverpool lead Champions League Group D by two points from Ajax and Atalanta and need just two more points from their final two games in the section to reach the last 16.

Additional reporting by AFP

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Paul Fennessy

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