Liverpool have something of a pre-season goalkeeper crisis. Alisson Becker is on his break following Copa America. Kamil Grabara is off to Huddersfield. Caoimhin Kelleher is injured. It’s left the club with only Simon Mignolet and youth ‘keeper Dan Atherton.
As a result, the club signed 35-year-old Andy Lonergan to a temporary deal, and move that goalkeeper coach John Achterberg explained simply came down to the numbers—and to the club and their new short-term signing being able to do each other a favour.
“Obviously we are really light in the goalkeeping area,” Achterberg told the club’s official website. “Ali is on holiday, Kamil is going out on loan to Huddersfield, Caoimhin has an injury, so that leaves us only with Si really and one young boy, Dan Atherton.
“We need some cover in training so we thought we’d bring someone in who can help us. Basically we’re bringing him in for training and we can try to help him get fit and we’ll see how it goes from there. It’s like he helps us and we help him to get fit.”
Lonergan hasn’t played much since 2015-16 when he made 29 appearances for Fulham. Since then, it’s been a year and 11 appearances for Wolves, then a year and seven for Leeds, and then seven appearances on loan at League One’s Rochdale.
A month with Liverpool, then—and perhaps even a handful of pre-season minutes—is probably his best chance at getting fit for the upcoming season and then perhaps securing a professional contract at a Championship or League One side.
And depending on how he fits with the squad and the influence he has on younger players, Achterberg isn’t ruling out the possibility that Lonergan could extend his stay at Anfield as third choice ‘keeper—similar to Alex Manninger a few seasons back.
“It’s always good to have an experienced goalie to be able to talk to for the young [players],” he added. “He can help us over the next few weeks and we can help him to try to get to a reasonable fitness level and then we’ll take it from there.”