Best Second Choice Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher, Keylor Navas Lead List of World Class Talent

Best Second Choice Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher, Keylor Navas Lead List of World Class Talent

Martin Moses
updated at February 29, 2024 at 7:12 AM
In this article:
Caoimhin Kelleher logo
C. Kelleher
Liverpool logoGIreland logo
Kepa Arrizabalaga logo
Chelsea logoGSpain logo
Stefan Ortega logo
S. Ortega
Manchester City logoGGermany logo
Dean Henderson logo
Crystal Palace logoGEngland logo
Keylor Navas logo
K. Navas
Paris Saint Germain (PSG) logoGCosta Rica logo
Liverpool logo
Real Madrid logo
Real Madrid
Chelsea logo
Arsenal logo
Aaron Ramsdale logo
Arsenal logoGEngland logo
  • Caoimhin Kelleher put in a masterful performance to win the 2024 Carabao Cup for Liverpool
  • The 25-year-old has played second-fiddle to Alisson Becker since promotion to the main team
  • He leads a list of world-class keepers who are warming the bench as the second-choice options

Many teams would shiver at the thought of losing their main goalkeeper before a major cup final, but Jurgen Klopp has grown comfortable with losing Alisson Becker for a few games, knowing so well that Caoimhin Kelleher is an able substitute.

The Irish goalkeeper has won the Reds two trophies, both the Carabao Cups against Chelsea. On February 25, he kept a depleted Liverpool side in the game, denying Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher from point-blank range.

Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool, Carabao Cup final, Keylor Navas, Aaaron Ramsdale, Kepa, Stefan Ortega, Dean Henderson
Liverpool goalkeeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, celebrates with Virgil Van Dijk after winning the 2024 Carabao Cup final. Photo by Mike Hewitt.
Source: Getty Images

So good was he that you'd probably hand him the goalkeeper of the season award only to remember that he would be back on the bench as soon as Alisson returns to full fitness.

Second-choice keepers too good for the bench

Such is the dilemma and sad state that second-choice goalkeepers go through. You have to show up consistently for training, help the main goalkeeper and, on matchday, sit on the bench.

You bide your time to get game time, probably in the cup competitions, for you to show the world how good you are.

Sports Brief looks at five other such goalkeepers apart from Kelleher.

1. Keylor Navas: Paris Saint-Germain

It is almost unfathomable that a three-time Champions League winner has been relegated to once-in-a-while appearances.

Navas quit Real Madrid following the signing of Thibaut Courtois and joined French giants, PSG. After two seasons, the club signed Gianluigi Donnarumma. Mauricio Pochettino swapped between the two before his successor, Christophe Galtier, made Donnarumma the outright first-choice.

2. Aaron Rasmdale: Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdle suffered deja vu at Arsenal when David Raya was signed from Brentford at the start of this season. Two years earlier, he joined from Sheffield United and displaced Bernd Leno as the club's first choice.

After a few games, Mikel Arteta made Raya his first pick, and Ramsdale has only played cup games since or against Brentford, where Raya was ineligible to play. 442 reports that the England international is now pushing for an exit.

3. Stefan Ortega: Manchester City

The German goalkeeper has been given a look-in at how football looks in the English top flight, but he remains a long way from displacing Ederson.

He was in goal when Manchester City beat Manchester United in the 2023 FA Cup final.

4. Dean Henderson: Crystal Palace

Dean Henderson grew tired of waiting for his chance to get a starting berth at Manchester United. An opportunity opened up when David de Gea left, but the club opted to pursue Andre Onana.

His move to Crystal Palace hasn't panned out well, either, failing to displace Sam Johnstone. He will be hoping to convince the new boss, Oliver Glasner, of a more permanent role going forward.

5. Kepa Arrizabalaga: Real Madrid/Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga has never quite lived up to his price tag as the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. After an error-stricken time at Chelsea, the club brought Edouard Mendy, ending his tenure as the first pick.

An injury to Mendy in the 2022/2023 season gave him the opportunity to revitalise his career, and he looked certain to have reclaimed his spot. Mendy moved to Saudi Arabia, leaving him as Pochettino's first choice.

However, when an opportunity to join Real Madrid opened up following Courtois' long-term injury, he couldn't turn it down. Life in the Spanish capital started with a series of starts for Carlo Ancelotti's side, but Andriy Lunin has since displaced him.

Football Espana reports that he might have played his last game for Real Madrid.

Honourable mentions

Lukasz Fabianski has lost his place to Alphonse Areola at West Ham United this season. The veteran goalkeeper has been used in cup games or when the Frenchman is unavailable.

Chelsea's Đorđe Petrović is still technically number two, but his performances since Robert Sanchez suffered a knee injury last year will give Pochettino something to think about now that the Spaniard is back in the squad.

On the women's side, Emma Hayes has the luxury of having three goalkeepers who are equally adept at being first-choice. Long-term option, Ann Katrin-Berger, leads alongside Sweden's World Cup hero, Zecira Musovic, and last summer's signing, Hannah Hampton. Only one can play at a time.

Liverpool academy players who won Carabao Cup

Sports Brief has compiled a list of the Liverpool academy stars' Carabao Cup winners.

The side required help from Virgil Van Dijk to beat Chelsea in the final on February 25.

Jurgen Klopp's key stars were injured, forcing the German to rely on academy players.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)