Potential Backup Goalkeepers for the 2023-24 season

Exploring possible replacements for Caoimhín Kelleher.

Credit: Getty Images.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing a series of articles on possible summer transfer targets for Liverpool F.C. Firstly, we must look at the current and potential gaps in the squad for next season and will then narrow down potential signings at each of those positions. These possible outgoing players will give us an idea of which positions will need the most help.

Starting off with the goalkeeping position, Alisson is the undisputed No.1 and won’t be going anywhere. Adrián seems to be happy with his third string role and as a senior figurehead of the squad, provides much needed experience and guidance to new incoming players. Kelleher, an excellent deputy in recent years, is rumored to be looking for first team football and might leave Liverpool this summer.

In defence, Liverpool found adequate cover for Robertson a few years ago in Kostas Tsimikas but Alexander-Arnold has not had a decent backup since Nathaniel Clyne left the club. However, last summer’s signing Calvin Ramsay has apparently impressed for the U-21 side this season and the hope is he will be ready to play the backup RB role for next season.

Centre-back is where Liverpool may need the most help in defence. It is rumored that Joël Matip will be leaving Liverpool this summer after several years of excellent service and it is also possible that Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips will be sold this summer to bring in some funds for incomings.

Midfield is where the majority of supporters and pundits alike have agreed that Liverpool need the most help. Starting out with the CDM role, Fabinho has had a resurgence of late compared to his poor early season form and there has been the welcome emergence of Stefan Bajčetić. However, a new defensive or holding midfielder to provide cover and impetus for Fabinho and one that has more experience than Bajčetić is sorely needed.

Moving on to central midfielders, it is accepted amongst the Liverpool faithful that Milner will be leaving at the end of this season, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta will move on this summer and that Liverpool will decline the option to buy Arthur Melo. This leaves Henderson and Thiago as the only fit senior central midfielders in the squad. This is the engine room for Klopp’s team and two players on the wrong side of 30 is not enough, 2 to 3 additions in this area are a must for Liverpool to return their best.

Finishing off with the attack, this is the one area where Liverpool may not need to add to. However at the time of writing, Liverpool are losing fan-favorite and modern day legend Roberto Firmino on a free transfer this summer as his contract closes out, so Klopp may seek to bolster his attacking options.

However, Liverpool have recruited smartly over the past few seasons to bring in younger and hungrier players like Núñez, Gakpo, Díaz and Jota, all of whom can be a part of the starting XI on their day. Liverpool’s current record Premier League goal scorer Salah is still here and there is exceptional youth options in Carvalho and Elliott waiting in the wings.

So what we will be looking at in this series of articles will be additions to the following positions: a new backup goalkeeper, 2 centre backs, a holding/defensive midfielder, 2 centre midfielders, and an attacking midfielder/forward.

Our first article in this series will focus on the backup goalkeeping position. As mentioned earlier, Allisson is first choice and current backup, Kelleher, is looking for first team football elsewhere. Leaving Adrián as the only senior backup goalkeeper. We will be looking at a few options with the following criteria: younger than 25 years and able to deputize for FA and Carabao cup games. This goalkeeper must be young enough to warrant a bench role but also to provide competition for Allisson, as he has made a few glaring errors this season due to complacency.

Credit: Squawka
  1. Bart Verbruggen – 20 years old – RSC Anderlecht

Bart Verbruggen has been rumored to be one of the goalkeepers that Klopp is looking at to provide competition to Alisson. Standing at the same height as Alisson (6ft 4in), only weighing in at 66kg compared to Alisson’s 91kg, Verbruggen will have to bulk up to deal with the rigors of the Premier League. To play as a goalkeeper in this Liverpool team, they must be good with their feet and involved in outfield play. Even though he plays in a lower league, Verbruggen has more touches per90 than Alisson and has a better long pass accuracy % as well. While not as good as the next option in terms of shot-stopping, Verbruggen still has a similar saves made and save percentage. Listed at €750k, he could present a bargain deal for Klopp.

  1. Djordje Petrović – 23 years old – New England Revolution

Another rumored target, one that Liverpool will have to battle Manchester United for, is Djordje Petrović of the New England Revolution in the MLS. Also standing at 6ft 4in, but weighing in at 89kg, Petrović is more physically ready for the Premier League as compared to Verbruggen. While Petrović does not have the European experience, he has played more minutes than Verbruggen. Moreover, Petrović seems to be the better shot-stopper as well, having more saves made and penalties saved per90 as compared to Verbruggen. Where Petrović needs to improve is his ability with his feet, having a much lower pass accuracy %. Listed at €2.5m, he is the most expensive option here.

  1. Marcelo Pitaluga – 20 years old – Liverpool F.C.

A name familiar with the Liverpool faithful, Pitaluga is already on the books as a Liverpool player since signing in 2020. While he is the most unproven candidate here, he does have a few positives. He is just an inch shorter than Alisson and has gone on loan to Macclesfield, where he has familiarized himself with the English game. Financially, he is the best option as he would cost nothing in terms of a transfer fee, allowing the club to focus their transfer funds on more important positions. Finally, he has already been working as an understudy to Alisson and with the first team squad, so he is familiar with the style of play Klopp is looking for.

While these three are great options for Liverpool’s transfer committee to investigate, this will ride on whether Kelleher departs this summer or not. Kelleher would be the clubs first second-choice shot stopper, but if he is determined to find a more regular spot at a different club, these are a few options that Liverpool could look to replace him with.

Related articles: