Mark Lawrenson: Caoimhín Kelleher doesn't need to leave Liverpool to develop into an elite goalkeeper

“I think he will learn as much there if not more than going anywhere else. Once he can deal with the physical side, he’s probably better just staying there and being a part of that group."
Mark Lawrenson: Caoimhín Kelleher doesn't need to leave Liverpool to develop into an elite goalkeeper

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher scores at Wembley. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

IRISH soccer legend Mark Lawrenson believes Caoimhín Kelleher would learn more by remaining at Liverpool rather than potentially leaving the club either permanently or on loan during the upcoming summer transfer window.

The Cork native has appeared for the Reds on a number of occasions this season but he firmly remains manager Jurgen Klopp’s second choice goalkeeper with the world-class Alisson Becker ahead of him in the pecking order.

There have been calls for Kelleher to leave the Merseyside giants this summer in order to gain more game time which could also help him become the first-choice keeper with Ireland, where he is currently behind Gavin Bazunu.

But the 23-year-old did start Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final victory against Chelsea this season and at one point it looked like he would replace Alisson when the Brazilian suffered a knock in their recent FA Cup final triumph against the same opponents which also went to penalties.

And speaking to The Echo, Lawrenson insists that because of those potential opportunities, coupled with facing some of the best attackers in the world in training, Kelleher should continue to develop at Anfield.

“He could go on loan somewhere and maybe get battered around a little bit, which if he went to the championship he would get battered in terms of physicality,” begins Lawrenson.

“Or I would be more inclined to keep him at Liverpool and let him train with (Sadio) Mane, (Mohamed) Salah, (Luis) Diaz, all those world-class goalscorers, and play against them in training games.

“I think he will learn as much there if not more than going anywhere else. Once he can deal with the physical side, he’s probably better just staying there and being a part of that group.

“You never know, do you? Aston Villa won the European Cup many, many years ago and their goalkeeper went off injured in the first half.

I think a guy called Nigel Spink went in goal and he never looked back, he was the number two and he just never looked back from that particular moment.

“He’s doing great, he’s doing great. I watch him regularly when he’s warming up because I am normally filming in front of The Kop with LFC TV.

“I have studied him and he is one of those that he’s a lot bigger in real life... this is going to sound stupid but he doesn’t strip as big as he is if you get what I mean.

“But I know they rate him and I speak to one of the goalkeeping coaches at Liverpool on a regular basis - John Achterberg - and he just says he is getting better and better and that he is going to be a top goalkeeper so hopefully he is right.”

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