Arne Slot has obvious choice with Liverpool star who just hinted at transfer 'ambition'

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher
-Credit: (Image: Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Arne Slot has a number of priorities he must address as the Reds enter the summer transfer window.

Top of the list is likely to be focused on the attack with Mohamed Salah's future in the air and Darwin Nunez potentially being replaced amid Barcelona's interest. However, Slot cannot afford to ignore a situation simmering with his talented second-choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

The Irishman was called upon to fill in for Alisson Becker on a number of occasions this season as the Brazilian suffered with injuries. Evaluating his campaign in an interview with The Athletic, Kelleher said: "Playing against Man City at home (the 1-1 draw at Anfield in March) was another big one for me with the rivalry between us.

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"You’re not going to play in a more high-profile game than that in world football and I thought I did really well. You think: ‘Yeah, I’m capable of doing this every week at a high level.'

"I got the taste for it and I want to do it all the time. My main ambition is to be a No.1."

Kelleher added: “It would be great if that happened at Liverpool, but I’m not silly. I know that Ali has been the best goalkeeper in the world for years.

“I’ve had such an amazing time at Liverpool. It’s been a crazy journey for me and one that I’ve absolutely loved. I love the club, I love the fans and I have a great relationship with the players and the staff. Whether it’s here at Liverpool or somewhere else, I do feel the next step for me is to be a No 1.”

Kelleher stopped short of directly saying he wants to leave Anfield this summer but at 25 he will undoubtedly be tempted if one of Europe's top clubs offers him the chance to be first choice. However, the Reds have a two-fold reason why they should reject those advances.

Firstly, it would be incredibly short-sighted for the Reds to release a player who is in line to replace Alisson soon. Yes, the Brazilian is the first choice but he is not getting any younger and may need replacing in a few years.

Kelleher is the ready-made replacement. Secondly, even if the decision had been made to let the Irishman go, it would be difficult to find a replacement who is happy to sit on the bench but is capable of becoming Alisson's successor, potentially as soon as 2026.

Any goalkeeper worth their salt and capable of performing to the standards of Kelleher will not be satisfied with a place on the bench. To shut down the 25-year-old's anchoring for a move, Slot may have to implement Kelleher more than just in the cups and when Alisson is injured this season.

For the benefit of Liverpool's future, they can't afford Kelleher to become a rival's No.1.

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