Champions League winner Caoimhin Kelleher is learning all he can from Alisson Becker as he attempts to push the older man all the way for the goalkeeper’s shirt at Liverpool.
The 20-year-old Irishman was part of the squad which lifted European club football’s biggest prize in Madrid at the end of last season as Alisson kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 final victory over Tottenham.
While the two men are competing for the same position along with recent arrival Adrian, that has not stopped the Brazil international from helping to school an emerging talent.
Speaking on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s, Kelleher said: “It’s been very good for me.
“To be honest in the last year, I think I’ve improved quite a good bit in that part of the game and a lot has been down to him, just watching him and seeing what he does in certain situations in games.
“Speaking to him as well, he’ll speak to me on what stuff I can improve on, so it’s been a huge help.”
Kelleher has found himself on the bench in recent weeks with former West Ham man Adrian standing in for the injured Alisson, and might have been handed a start in the European Super Cup clash with Chelsea had he not himself been recovering from a wrist problem.
He said with a smile: “I don’t think you can look at it like that. Maybe if I hadn’t got injured, Alisson might not have got injured. I don’t really think about that, to be honest, there’s no point dwelling on stuff like that.”
Kelleher, who played his early football as a striker with Cork side Ringmahon Rangers, concedes he may eventually have to go out on loan to get regular first team football, but is grateful for the opportunities he has been given to date by Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.
He said: “He’s probably one of the best managers in the world, so it can only be a good thing being with him every day.
“He’s very good at man-management – you can see that in the way that all the players get along with him and even the players who aren’t playing or not in squads.
“He makes everyone feel a part of it, makes everyone feel like they’re making a difference to the team. He’s very good.”