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Lonergan lauds 'unbelievable' Kelleher as 'the new generation of goalkeeper'

The Corkman needs a loan move away from Liverpool to accumulate experience, says Andy Lonergan.

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher.
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher.
Image: EMPICS Sport

ANDY LONERGAN HAS issued a ringing endorsement of Irish youngster Caoimhín Kelleher as he bids farewell to Liverpool.

Lonergan was signed by the Reds last summer when manager Jurgen Klopp required goalkeeping reinforcements.

The 36-year-old, who didn’t make an appearance for Liverpool, has been released following the conclusion of a memorable campaign for the newly-crowned Premier League champions.

Kelleher remains on the books at Anfield after a season during which he got his first taste of competitive senior football for a club he joined from Ringmahon Rangers at the age of 16. Now 21, the Corkman played four times in domestic cup competitions in 2019-20.

While Lonergan was impressed by the Republic of Ireland U21 international during his spell at Liverpool, he believes it’s now time for him to accumulate more experience.

With Alisson Becker – a man who Lonergan believes is the best goalkeeper in the game – at the top of the pecking order, it’s likely that Kelleher will have to look elsewhere for opportunities.

“He’s a brilliant keeper, he’s the new generation of goalkeeper,” Lonergan said of Kelleher in an interview published over the weekend by the Liverpool Echo.

southampton-v-liverpool-premier-league-st-marys-stadium Kelleher with Andy Lonergan. Source: Steven Paston

“I’m the old generation but he’s so fast. He’s unbelievable, he’s like a central midfielder with the ball at his feet but he can make saves and is brave. He’s got the lot.

“The only thing he is missing is games. John [Achterberg], Jack Robinson [Liverpool's goalkeeper coaches], me and Caoimhín all speak about it. He’s not got any experience but I know a lot of keepers with experience who aren’t as good as him.

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“It’s a tough one for him. He needs to play games. I presume the plan for him is to go out on loan because no-one is getting past Ali [Alisson Becker].”

Kelleher was installed as first-choice goalkeeper for the Ireland U21s last year, winning 10 caps under Stephen Kenny.

He signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool in August 2018.

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Paul Dollery

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