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hands on Caoimhin Kelleher must learn from Kop No.1 Alisson if he's to become a Liverpool great

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Liverpool's Fabinho and goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher bump fists after the victory over Ajax

Liverpool's Fabinho and goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher bump fists after the victory over Ajax

Liverpool's Fabinho and goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher bump fists after the victory over Ajax

EVERYONE at Liverpool has known for some time about the potential of Caoimhin Kelleher, and he highlighted his class with a magnificent Champions League debut on Tuesday night.

In my role working for Liverpool’s in-house TV channel, I have watched a lot of the under-age teams in action over recent years – and there is a wonderful crop of talent coming through.

Curtis Jones is a class act in the making, and Neco Williams is also a real talent in the full-back position, with Kelleher giving Liverpool a welcome Irish presence in the line-up.

We all know about the long-standing connections between Ireland and the club, but we have not had an Irish player in the Liverpool team since the days of Steve Finnan and Robbie Keane. So it was great to see young Kelleher get his chance against Ajax.

He pulled off a couple of good saves, his distribution was first class, and there is no reason why he should not play against Wolves today, as he has proved he can cope with the pressure of playing on the biggest of stages.

I have spoken to Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg about Kelleher and he told me that the one aspect of his game that really stood out was his temperament.

He is a quiet lad, level-headed and nothing seems to knock him out of his stride when a new challenge is thrust in front of him.

John and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp are big fans of Caoimhin – and they confirmed as much by throwing him into a massive Champions League game, one in which the Premier League champions needed a result.

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Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher claims possession

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher claims possession

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher claims possession

This was not a case of giving a young lad a chance in a dead match. There was plenty on the line against Ajax, but he kept a clean sheet and more than justified his selection ahead of the more experienced Adrian.

Kelleher may have a big decision to make at some point. He would clearly play more first-team football if he went out on loan, with Alisson Becker (above) undisputed as the best keeper in world football. And he will be Liverpool’s No 1 for a long time to come.

Yet, I would encourage Caoimhin to be patient, to wait for the chances that come his way and learn from Alisson over the next four or five years.

He would then be in a prime position to step into his shoes, with the 22-year-old still very much learning his trade in a role where players don’t reach a peak until they get into their 30s.

Kelleher is working under the best manager in the game, he has wonderful support around him with the Liverpool coaching staff at the club’s new training base, so it would take a brave man to leave all that behind.

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Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher saves from Davy Klaassen

Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher saves from Davy Klaassen

Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher saves from Davy Klaassen

The lad should get more valuable experience tonight if he is given the nod against a Wolves side arriving at Anfield with real hopes of ending Liverpool’s long unbeaten Premier League run on home soil.

I have been so impressed with Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and the brand of football he has promoted at Wolves. They have taken on all the big teams head-on and got some great results against them.

They picked up a deserved 2-1 win at Arsenal last weekend, while they have also earned good results against Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United in recent years.

They play a high-energy, attacking style of football that is great to watch, and they will come to Anfield with real hopes of getting a positive result.

Adama Traore is a player who has given every Premier League defence trouble in recent years and, while they will miss Raul Jimenez after his horrible clash of heads with David Luiz resulted in him fracturing his skull last weekend, Wolves will still carry plenty of attacking threat.

As for Liverpool, they are continuing to defy the odds by producing brilliant performances despite a horrible injury list and plenty of obstacles being thrown in their way.

The Ajax performance was another example of the depth Klopp has in his squad, as not many teams could cope with the absence of Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago Alcantara – and a few more on top of that – and still continue to win at the highest level.

They might have a bad result or two at some point this month, but Klopp is finding a way to keep his side on track, and his efforts over the last few weeks are, arguably, even more impressive than what we saw last season.

He is trying to rest players when the moment is right, and picking his way through a season that has been thrown badly off track.

Amid it all, Liverpool went into this weekend joint top of the Premier League and through to the last-16 of the Champions League.

True sporting giants thrive in adversity – and that’s what Liverpool and their brilliant manager are doing right now.

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