Jurgen Klopp may pick Liverpool’s first-team goalkeeper Alisson Becker for their Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal over regular cup option Caoimhin Kelleher as the Brazilian is short of game time.
Young shot stopper Kelleher has played in every single cup match for the Reds this season, with the 23-year-old starring in Liverpool’s quarter-final penalty shootout win over Leicester to get Klopp’s men into the last four.
But Premier League goalkeeper Alisson has missed Liverpool’s last two matches after contracting coronavirus and has not featured in two weeks – meaning Klopp may decide to give him some minutes to boost his fitness after his illness.
Jurgen Klopp (left) may decide to play Alisson Becker (right) in Liverpool’s Carabao Cup semi-final with Arsenal on Thursday
Caoimhin Kelleher has been Liverpool’s regular cup keeper but he could make way for Alisson
Klopp told Liverpool’s official website: ‘Caoimh is the goalkeeper for this competition but there is a chance Ali will play tomorrow just because of the situation we were in.
‘I think he needs the game now. We will see how we decide it finally but there is a good chance that Ali will play tomorrow just because of the situation with COVID and everything, when he was out.
‘We all need to make sure the boys have as much rhythm as they can get. So there’s a good chance Ali will start tomorrow. But the competition is actually Caoimh’s competition, that’s true.’
Premier League clubs tend to use second-choice goalkeepers in the domestic competition to give their league shot stoppers a rest, which has allowed Kelleher to take his first-team appearance tally at Anfield to five this season.
Kelleher (left) has deputised for Alisson in recent weeks while the Brazilian had coronavirus
The 23-year-old deputised for Alisson while he was out ill during Liverpool’s 2-2 draw away at Chelsea on January 2, while the Irish goalkeeper also played in the Reds’ FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury last weekend.
Alisson has never played in a Carabao Cup match for Liverpool, despite him being at the club for three-and-a-half years, due to Klopp’s preference to use other goalkeepers in this competition.
Liverpool’s German manager has been accused of not respecting the Carabao Cup, mainly due to his complaints about fixture congestion – but Klopp was keen to dismiss those claims in his pre-match press conference.
Klopp rebuffed claims he does not respect the Carabao Cup in his pre-match press conference
‘We always wanted to do well in this competition,’ said Klopp. ‘There is a complete misunderstanding.
‘We are here to win trophies and and we are quite determined to get through, but there is a big hurdle in Arsenal in really good shape. If anyone thinks we don’t want to win, I can’t help it. We try every day.’
After facing Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Thursday, Liverpool take on Brentford at Anfield this weekend, before travelling down to London for the second leg of their quick-fire Gunners double.
Klopp’s side then have another London trip in Crystal Palace on January 23, which is Liverpool’s last match before the January winter break.