Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher after his performance against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final. The 23-year-old shot-stopper is currently Klopp's second-choice goalkeeper behind Alisson Becker. Whelan has backed Kelleher to compete for a place in Red's starting XI and believes he is one for the future.
Kelleher produced four impressive saves against Chelsea on Sunday. The youngster was also praised for his distribution of the ball, which was described as 'superb'. The two sides played out a 0-0 draw during regulation time and were unable to score a winning goal during extra time, hence the game went to penalties.
Liverpool claimed a 11-10 victory in the penalty shootout after Chelsea substitute Kepa Arrizabalaga blazed his spot-kick well over the crossbar. Noel Whelan lauded Kelleher for his ability to deal with the pressure and produce the goods for the Reds on the big stage. The 47-year-old believes the trust Jurgen Klopp showed in the Irishman is a massive 'boost' for him and his career.
Whelan told FootballInsider:
"It'll give him and his career such a boost. Just look at the fact that Kepa had played every game up until the final but Edouard Mendy stepped in anyway. Klopp trusted him to do the job, and that's the biggest compliment you can get. He had a brilliant game and made some great saved."
"He's definitely the one for the future and a player who will be pushing for that top spot, if not at Liverpool then definitely somewhere else. It's great when you have two goalkeepers that can be trusted and have great attributes. Even his distribution was superb yesterday, he never looked under pressure."
Caoimhin Kelleher has made eight appearances in all competitions for the Anfield outfit this season. He has made just two Premier League appearances for the Merseyside club, but has been a regular starter for Jurgen Klopp's side in the Cup competitions.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is building a squad for the future
Liverpool currently possess one of the best squads in the world. The Reds won the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday, and are are one of the favorites to win the Champions League title this season. They are also just six points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table, with a game in hand over Pep Guardiola's side.
Liverpool possess a number of players, including the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, and Roberto Firmino, who are the peakes of their powers in their football careers.
At the same time, the Merseyside club are also building a squad for the future. Jurgen Klopp opted to start 23-year-old goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in the Carabao Cup final and brought on Harvey Elliot and Ibrahima Konate as substitutes in the second-half.
Teenage sensation Harvey Elliot has become a regular member of the club's squad this season. French defender Ibrahima Konate is seen as a long-term replacement for veteran defender Joel Matip. Academy product Curtis Jones has also made 18 appearances for the club in all competitions this season.
Jurgen Klopp is therefore grooming the next generation at Anfield whilst also attempting to guide the club towards trophies.