Most expected that with Alisson back fit and starting in the league and Europe, backup Adrian would be given domestic cup duties, but assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders says that isn’t the case and that Caoimhin Kelleher will start.
“For us, Ali is our number one and we have Adrian, who did an unbelievable job,” Lijnders said at today’s pre-match press conference as he again filled in for Jürgen Klopp. “If something happens with Ali, Adrian then has to do the job.
“But in this League Cup, it is Caoimhin’s competition. As I said before the MK Dons game, with youth development, with these moments when they are in between the U23s and the first team, consistency is very important.”
It’s surprising, perhaps, given how impressive Adrian was filling in for Alisson when the Brazilian was injured to start the season, but it’s also true that for Kelleher’s development, playing time and consistency is very important.
It also shows just how highly those within the club rate the 20-year-old Irish international that he’s going to be given the chance to start in the League Cup for however long the Reds manage to stay in it this season.
Meanwhile, for Adrian, there may be other chances even if he isn’t needed again to cover for Alisson this season, with the Club World Cup set to be played in Qatar December and then the FA Cup starting up in the new year.
“He had a good game and he is preparing for another one,” added of Kelleher. “It will be special for him playing at Anfield.”