The Reds are back, and so is the uber-informed Twitter army advising Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp who should be in his starting eleven every week.
Prior to the Merseyside derby Klopp said he was working with a completely fit squad, likely indicating that a full-strength team would be selected until Jordan Henderson has both hands wrapped around the Premier League trophy. In a perfect world, supporters will be hoping to see the Reds confirmed champions as early as possible.
While we’re certain to see more action from the likes of Takumi Minamino, Naby Keita, Harvey Elliott, and Curtis Jones to name just a few, it’ll be fascinating to see who may get a few appearances in the net once the title has been assured.
I think many agree that the Reds may (definitely would) still be fighting to retain the Champions League title had Alisson been in goal the night Atlético Madrid visited Anfield in March, so for brevity and argument’s sake let’s assume Adrián’s season is finished, as we more or less know what we’re getting with him for better or worse.
In particular, it’ll be interesting to see if Klopp will hand Caoimhín Kelleher another senior appearance since the Reds bested Arsenal via penalties after drawing 5-5 in regulation in the Carabao Cup. Despite the scoreline, the young Irishman impressed on his Anfield debut after making a few eye-catching saves and commanding his box quite well for such a young kid.
In terms of upside, the 21-year-old probably stands to gain the most from the remaining matches this season in the goalkeeping department, solely due to the fact that he’ll most likely be angling for a loan move in the Championship come next season in order to further his progression.
Even if Kelleher features in just one or two matches over the coming weeks, it would be ample opportunity to showcase his talent to clubs across Europe potentially looking at bringing in a raw talent to help push them up the table at a fraction of the cost of most ready-made No.1s.
Kelleher has been the subject of a lot of praise from coaches at Liverpool, so why not let the kid show what he can do once the pressure of winning the league has evaporated?
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, and strictly for sentimental reasons, it would be amazing to see Andy Lonergan get the nod once the league is all wrapped up, even if it’s just an appearance off the bench.
That man is living the dream right now — from the fringes of first team football in the Championship as a 35-year-old to training with the best players in the world day in, day out. How could you not smile at the thought of him walking out amongst the star-studded Liverpool team just once?
Lonergan would have the ultimate brag for the rest of his life — it can’t get much better than leading the reigning European champions and Premier League champions-elect out in the final days of the season. He has been a consummate professional all season long, and has nothing but positives to say regarding his role in the team as well as how the squad has treated him since his arrival last summer.
Whatever Klopp decides to do in the coming weeks, the team selections should be some of the most interesting to date. With an expanded substitutes list and the pressure of winning the league soon to be gone, we’re certain to see a few players given chances that they might not previously have been afforded.
It would be great to see the likes of Kelleher and Lonergan get their day in the sun once the Reds’ 19th title is confirmed — a parting gift for an experienced professional and an opportunity to impress for an exciting talent.
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