Is Adrián Liverpool’s number one number two?

Is Adrián Liverpool’s best ever second-choice goalkeeper? Jay Pearson takes a look at the Reds’ past choices to find out!

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Adrián San Miguel put in another fine performance at the weekend. His commanding presence and vital saves in the Liverpool goal helped his team to victory at Stamford Bridge, which kept the Reds atop the Premier League with maximum points.

I wrote a piece the day we signed him about what we could expect from the Spaniard. I talked about how we are getting a goalkeeper that would be first choice for many clubs, so we can be confident and relaxed about our new number two. I must confess, though, I didn’t expect to be this relaxed.

Losing Alisson so early in the season was seen as a huge blow to our title challenge. The Brazilian was so vital to our challenge last season and our sixth European cup win, but Adrián has stepped in, put in largely consistent performances, won us a trophy, played with a smile on his face and – very quickly – has become a vital part of this squad.

As Jürgen Klopp said in his post-match interview in the Super Cup final Istanbul, it’s a page right out of the ‘Rocky’ story book. He was not expected to play many games, he has stepped in and relieved the pressure between the sticks.

More importantly it has allowed Alisson to recover properly and let the backroom team take their time to get our Brazilian number one back to full fitness. As far as second-choice stoppers go, Adrián could be the best we have ever had!

ADRIÁN – LIKE ROCKY!

So let’s take a look at some of our previous back up ‘keepers that have been at Anfield.

Warning – some of these may possibly bring back some not so pleasant memories…

Tony Warner (1994-1999)

He never played a first team game, but made 120 appearances on the bench and earned the nickname “Tony Bonus” due to receiving many win bonuses.

His career at Anfield never really took off and he found himself playing as the permanent understudy to David James in his earlier years with the club, but by the time of his departure he was the club’s third-choice ‘keeper following the signing of Brad Friedel.

He played for 21 clubs and is now the goalkeeping coach for Accrington Stanley (who are they?). He was on the bench for Stanley’s first game of the 2018/19 season at the age of 44-years-old. Age is just a number, right?

Brad Friedel (1997-2000)

Brad Friedel joined Liverpool in 1997

Signed in 1997, the young American found himself behind David James in the pecking order and, later, Sander Westerveld. While he did have some initial success with the Reds, he soon found it difficult and managed just over 30 games during his time at Liverpool.

Friedel proved to be like a fine wine – he only got better with age. He went on to have a very successful career in the Premier League and even scored a goal for Blackburn Rovers against Charlton Athletic.

He will no doubt go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history. Not for his time at Anfield, though.

Chris Kirkland (2001-2004)

Signed on the same day as Jerzy Dudek in August 2001, the England international arrived at Anfield with a glowing reputation.

Despite signing for a big transfer fee, Kirkland rarely threatened Jerzy Dudek as first choice between the sticks. He was plagued by injuries and left after making just 45 appearances in four seasons.

Kirkland now appears regularly on LFC TV as a pundit and runs his own goalkeeping academy – a role he took on full-time after leaving Liverpool Women as their head coach in 2018/19.

Scott Carson (2005-2006)

Carson was never a regular for Liverpool or for the England national team

Another young English goalkeeper that came to Anfield with all the ‘talk’ of being the future England number one, but Carson failed to live up to the reputation that preceded him.

His finest moment came against Juventus in the Champions League quarter-final first leg in 2005, where he would produce an excellent performance against the Italian giants.

However, that was just one of nine appearances – his final one coming in the 5-3 win over Luton in January 2006. Somehow, Carson now sits on Manchester City’s bench. It’s a funny old game!

Daniele Padelli (2007)

The Italian would play just one game for the Reds – the final league game of the 2006-07 season against Charlton – and conceded two goals. He was selected only to give Pepe Reina a rest ahead of the Champions League final. Padelli is now a backup at Inter Milan.

Charles Itandje (2007-2008)

Arrived from Lens in 2007 but made just seven appearances at the club, looking rather hapless for the vast majority of them.

But will be remembered for his disrespectful behaviour at the Hillsborough memorial service in 2009. The less said about this waste of wages the better. No-one cares where he is now.

Diego Cavalieri (2008-2011)

Diego Cavalieri had a brief spell at Crystal Palace in 2018

Signed in 2008, the Brazilian always had a difficult task to replace Reina, who was considered one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.

He had spent plenty of time as a deputy to Marcos at Palmeiras and looked to settle quickly when he came in for Liverpool over his three-year spell.

He played in the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League, but never made a single Premier League appearance for the Reds. He is now playing for Botafogo back in his native Brazil.

Alexander Doni (2011-2012)

Another Brazilian goalkeeper that came to Anfield with experience at the highest level at Roma, but made just four appearances in his one season at the club.

Had originally replaced the suspended Reina in 2011-12 but found himself sent off at Blackburn, meaning he missed the cup semi with Everton. Left the club after discovering he had heart problems, which ultimately led to his retirement in 2013.

His best contribution came later, though, as he would advise goalkeeping coach to keep an eye on a bloke called Alisson Becker! That one worked out very well indeed.

Brad Jones (2010-2015)

Jones was a model professional, but never quite made it at Liverpool

Arrived in 2010 and was used sparingly in his first two seasons at the club. Jones was behind Reina and Doni in the pecking order, but was thrust into action after the latter was sent off at Blackburn.

The young Aussie came on to save a penalty that helped the Reds to a 3-2 victory. Jones immediately pointed to the sky in honour of his young son who had recently passed away.

His biggest moment in a Liverpool shirt was when he started in the FA Cup semi-final win over Everton in 2012. He would be utilised far more in Brendan Rodgers’ third season due to Reina’s injury, and was briefly promoted to number one after Mignolet’s loss of form in the 2014-15 season. Jones was a model professional and great representative of Liverpool Football Club.

He then went on to have a successful few years in the Netherlands with Feyenoord, becoming their first-choice, breaking records and winning league titles. He now plays his football in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr.

Jerzy Dudek (2001-2007)

The big Pole in our goal was relegated to the bench after the arrival of Pepe Reina. Once the Spaniard arrived, Dudek would play just 12 further games for the club, including the 6-3 defeat at home to Arsenal in the League Cup.

However we all know what Jerzy did for our club on THAT night in Istanbul. So, he immediately is held in the highest regard as he was crucial to bringing home number five! Cheers Jerzy lad!

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