Liverpool lost to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in a game that could lead to Caoimhin Kelleher getting a promotion.
Unfortunately, Adrian had a shocker at Anfield. The Spaniard didn’t have to do much all game but when the time came, he couldn’t deliver.
Liverpool were 2-0 up on the night in extra-time, only for Adrian to miss-hit a pass. Marcos Llorente got the ball and tried his luck from the edge of the box. The goalkeeper didn’t set himself properly, however, and couldn’t get to it.
Atletico had their away goal and went on to grab another two.
Adrian was only playing because Alisson Becker had an injury, of course. That does make the mistakes explainable – he’s the second-choice goalkeeper, after all. He’s not used to the elite level or the way elite goalkeeper’s play, having to go long periods without doing much.
It’s his second mistake in the last two weeks, too. He mishandled a shot against Chelsea in the FA Cup, resulting in their opening goal and Liverpool’s exit from the competition.
So with all this in mind, it might be time for Liverpool to rethink their position on reserve goalkeepers. These mistakes would be easier to take if the player making them was learning, for instance.
Because with Adrian, no one really gains anything. He’s 33, for one thing, and not going to improve at this point. Adrian just isn’t at the top level and that’s that. Liverpool have paid the price for not having their best player in goal.
That’s obviously not Adrian’s fault but if that’s going to happen – and it will with any second choice – then why not have that player learn from the experience? If the goalkeeper is young, then they can make mistakes and grow as a player. If you have to have your backup in goal, try to gain from it.
So the defeat to Atletico could be a catalyst for Kelleher. The Irishman is only 21 and has plenty of learning to do, but he’s very talented. Going forward, these are potential learning experiences – and that’s far better than nothing.