Ex-Red 'hopes' Jurgen Klopp goes back on cup final promise

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol hopes Jurgen Klopp goes back on a promise to Caoimhin Kelleher for the EFL Cup final. The Reds' boss is unlikely to do so.

Liverpool are back in the EFL Cup final, two years after their last. It'll bring back a lot of memories from that cup final, too, given the Reds face the same opponents - Chelsea.

Of course, this will be a very different Chelsea as the Blues have undergone dramatic changes since then. Liverpool have seen changes of their own, too, but one area they're exactly the same is in goal.

Caoimhin Kelleher is Liverpool's goalkeeper for the EFL Cup, much as he was two years ago. The 2022 final remains the highlight of his career, in fact, as Kelleher saved the decisive penalty from Kepa Arrizabagala to win the trophy - he even scored one himself.

The Irishman has been in goal throughout the tournament again this time around and Jurgen Klopp has given every indication that he will be between the sticks for the final.

Klopp was asked after qualifying for the final whether he'd be tempted to leave Kelleher out in favour of first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker. It's safe to say he's not considering that.

"Imagine [leaving him out]," he said, per the Mirror. "Oh, that's a different situation, a little bit between Caoimhin and Jarell [Quansah] for example. So Jarell is part of, if you want, the rotation crew, easy as that. And that’s how it is, we have to [start them].

"Imagine we now play two all the time, we don't want to do it and we will not, as long as we can make these decisions we will. Caoimhin is a top, top, top, top goalie, and when Ali is fit he doesn't have a lot of games so I want to give him, desperately, the opportunity to play because it's important for development and he deserves it on top of that because he's always there, he gives his absolute everything, like Adrian by the way it's the same."

But former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol made it clear on Wednesday that he doesn't want the Irishman in goal for his own team. Nicol, who does punditry in the US for ESPN, gave a short opinion when the idea was put to him.

“Kelleher will play in the final,” said Craig Burley. “He will play in the final, I would imagine and the other ten will be the big guns.”

“I hope not," said Nicol in response.

There should be essentially no doubt that Klopp will start Kelleher. He's done so before and there's every expectation he'll do so again here.

It's a risk, of course, as Alisson is objectively the superior goalkeeper. Klopp, though, feels this is the correct way to manage his squad - and no one can say he doesn't know what he's doing.

Kelleher will almost certainly get a chance to win the second trophy of his career as a starting goalkeeper, then. Let's hope history repeats itself.

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