Liverpool maintained their perfect start to the campaign with a comfortable win over Toulouse Thursday night in the Europa League, winning 5-1.
The fact that Caoimhín Kelleher would be starting in goal for the third time this season brought a little more Irish interest in the match.
Although Liverpool does not want to be playing in Europe’s second-tier club league, the Cork native has benefited from some additional possibilities. Having always been subordinate to Alisson Becker at Anfield, the Europa League provides him with the kind of guaranteed playing time that he hasn’t really had access to this far in his career.
Having said that, he most likely would not have been happy with his performance in this specific match.
It can be challenging for a goalie to occasionally enter the team after going a long period without starting; achieving your best form in that role frequently depends on getting regular playing time. Considered one of the Premier League’s greatest backups, Caoimhín Kelleher did occasionally display symptoms of rust versus Toulouse.
The opposition’s lone goal of the evening served as one illustration of that. Though he was put in a challenging position when faced with a one-on-one, Kelleher remained on his line and let the forward take the shot with minimal pressure.
An even greater illustration was given in the second half.
This time, Caoimhín Kelleher made a really bad pass that went directly to a rival player, creating an easy opportunity for a goal. Fortunately for him, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal line clearance saved him.
This is not to argue that the Ireland international gave a particularly subpar performance. Throughout the course of the ninety minutes, he made a few straightforward saves and at times his passing appeared flawless.
But it’s evident that his limited playing time made it challenging for him to develop as a player.