Kelleher outlines ambitions to be a first-choice goalkeeper

Kelleher outlines ambitions to be a first-choice goalkeeper

Ireland's Caoimhín Kelleher has admitted he now wants to experience the "taste of being a first-choice goalkeeper full-time after featuring so heavily for Liverpool this campaign.

The Cork native, who had largely been a cup keeper for Liverpool in recent years, became the temporary number 1 this season, with Alisson Becker sidelined. Kelleher made 26 appearances for Liverpool in a season where he helped the side win a League Cup in Jürgen Klopp's final season. But like every footballer, he just wants to play.

There would have been a time when Kelleher would have been happy being second fiddle to Alisson, but after the club's 1-1 draw with City, where he featured, he now feels he can become number 1 for good.

“Playing against Manchester City at home (the 1-1 draw at Anfield in March) was another big one for me with the rivalry between us. You’re not going to play in a more high-profile game than that in world football, and I thought I did really well. You think, ‘Yeah, I’m capable of doing this every week at a high level’. I have a taste for it, and I want to do it all the time. My main ambition is to be No. 1," said the Liverpool keeper to The Athletic.

That could be at Liverpool, or it could be at another club. Ideally, being Liverpool's first choice would be Kelleher's dream, but he knows the challenge he faces to dislodge Alisson, who is the best in the world.

“It would be great if that happened at Liverpool, but I’m not silly. I know that Ali has been the best goalkeeper in the world for years," he added.

Caoimhin Kelleher of Liverpool lifts the trophy after Liverpool’s Carabao Cup final victory over Chelsea. (Image: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) )

“I’ve had such an amazing time at Liverpool. It’s been a crazy journey for me, and one that I’ve absolutely loved. I love the club, I love the fans, and I have a great relationship with the players and the staff. Whether it’s here in Liverpool or somewhere else, I do feel the next step for me is to be a No. 1.”

The 25-year-old, who has been linked with a move away for a number of years now, is expected to be linked to another club this year. These include the likes of Brentford, Tottenham Hotspur, and others.

Kelleher admits that he never pushed for the move but claimed he knew he needed to advance his career. Klopp convinced Kelleher to stay because of the potential injury to Alisson, which became a reality in the end.

The Cork man also admits that there will be discussions over his future in the coming weeks.

“I wouldn’t say I was pushing (to leave) last summer but saying, "Look, I need to kick on for my career." Jürgen said, "If anything happens to Ali, we really need you to be there.". It worked out for the best this season because I played 26 games.

“There will be some discussions over the coming weeks. The club was busy with the manager leaving and appointing a new one. With all the new staff arriving, those talks will happen.”