Virgil van Dijk praises 'world class' Caoimhin Kelleher

Virgil van Dijk praises 'world class' Caoimhin Kelleher

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk has claimed that he has always said that Ireland's Caoimhin Kelleher is a world-class goalkeeper.

Kelleher, who has found game time hard to come by, made his fourth start of the season and pulled off a string of impressive saves in the win at the Gtech Stadium on Saturday.

With 14 appearances so far in all competitions, it is likely that Kelleher will feature in more games because of Alisson's injury. The Cork native is also likely to start in the League Cup against Chelsea this weekend.

Speaking after Liverpool's win over Brentford, Van Dijk admitted he has full confidence in the Cork man's abilities. The Dutchman defender also hopes that his display in London will help him kick on in the weeks to come.

"I always said that he is a world-class goalkeeper," said the Liverpool defender.

"It is very difficult to be a second goalkeeper, but there is no shame in being a second goalkeeper to one of, if not the best, goalkeepers in the world.

"He has to step up now, and everyone needs a bit of confidence, and everyone should give him the confidence that he will do the job. Everyone needs a bit of love from the outside.

"Hopefully Saturday will help him carry on and take that confidence into the next game."

Caoimhin Kelleher of Liverpool is in action during the Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at Gtech Community Stadium on February 17, 2024, in Brentford, England. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Liverpool's manager, Jurgen Klopp, also praised the Ireland shot-stopper, using the superlatives "outstanding" and "exceptional."

“He was outstanding against Brentford,” said Klopp. “I don’t know exactly who is the number one for Ireland, but if they have a better goalkeeper, respect. He’s outstanding. This year, we gave him more games than he had previously. It’s well deserved.

“We need him. We need him with rhythm. Now the situation around Alisson shows that makes absolute sense. We will see how long Alisson is out, but Caoimhin is exceptional. (On Saturday, he had an A+ performance.”

Klopp gave special mention to Liverpool youngster Conor Bradley. The German waxed lyrical about the Castlederg native also. Bradley had another impressive display on Saturday afternoon

"I am over the moon about him," added Klopp. "[His display] was pretty special. Very, very special. But he was special before the weekend. He's now again pretty special. He played an exceptional game.

"We had the situation again with changes. Who do we take off? Is it Robbo, who played a second game in a row after a long, long break? Or is it Conor? [We] decided in the end for Conor. Robbo can maybe manage it with his experience slightly better. Yeah, very impressive, absolutely."

Liverpool's next game will be against Luton Town on Wednesday.