'World-class' Liverpool player suddenly has a career-defining chance

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher suddenly faces a career-defining opportunity. This could change everything.

Liverpool will be without Alisson Becker for the next little while. The Brazilian has missed the last four fixtures and will now miss more with a hamstring problem.

"There is no real timescale on it, but it is a proper muscle injury," said Klopp. "Different players recover differently. That is it pretty much. It is not a short one.

"It is not that he will be in contention for next week or something like that. We have to wait a few more weeks, definitely, for him. He is working in the gym, not on the pitch, it is a rather serious one but not a season-ending injury."

Alisson isn't missing routine fixtures here, either. He'll be out for the Europa League Last 16 - both legs - and the visit of Manchester City next weekend in what it almost certainly the biggest game of the season. After that? A trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the FA Cup.

The hope will be that he's back post-international break at the end of March but it's unclear right now. Instead, Liverpool must cope without him.

And that's where Caoimhin Kelleher comes in. The Irishman has deputised for Alisson all season and will now continue to do so.

Kelleher has been a regular in the cup competitions, of course, but only gets Premier League games with Alisson missing. He's going to play every week for the foreseeable future, though - and that gives him the biggest opportunity of his career.

A career-defining one, in fact. Kelleher will have the world's eyes on him in some of the biggest games at club level, all ahead of a summer where he will inevitably reevaluate his future.

His contract runs until 2026, making this the final summer where Liverpool could sell him for a sizeable fee. That's also the only way they do sell him - Kelleher is important enough as backup that the Reds won't consider letting him go for anything small.

He's now 25, though, and will be nearly 28 when this contract expires. This being a player who is yet to really kickstart a regular career, only playing the backup role until now.

Caoimhin Kelleher

Chelsea v Liverpool EFL Cup 25/02/2024. Carabao Cup Final Caoimhin Kelleher 62 of Liverpool makes a save from a shot at goal by Conor Gallagher 23 of Chelsea during the EFL Cup match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, London, England on 25 February 2024. London Wembley Stadium Greater London England Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See www.football-dataco.com , Copyright: xGrahamxHuntx PSI-19105-0095

But here's a chance to change that. If Kelleher shines over these massive games, he can do one of two things - establish himself as genuine competition to Alisson and force a bigger role at Liverpool, or convince another club that he's worth a big-money transfer this summer.

And we know he can shine to that level - we just saw it in the Carabao Cup final. Virgil van Dijk came away from that calling him 'world-class', after all.

Fail and there won't be clubs coming forward this summer and Liverpool won't see him as a viable replacement for Alisson, nor serious competition who could force him out of the team. Kelleher would retain what he has now - a backup/cup role that comes to the forefront only when the Brazilian is injured. And he'd likely have that until he's 28.

Now, though, Kelleher can prove that he's more than that. He can earn himself that big move or earn himself a bigger reputation at Liverpool. These next few weeks could end up defining his career.

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