Football Digest: Liverpool start the season strong
Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian may have played his final game for the club after reportedly being axed from Jurgen Klopp’s Europa League squad. The Spaniard won’t be in contention to face LASK, Union Saint-Gilloise or Toulouse in the upcoming group stage, where the Reds can give run-outs to a number of their peripheral stars.
Adrian has always been back-up to Alisson Becker on Merseyside since signing from West Ham in 2019. And the emergence of Caoimhin Kelleher has seen the 36-year-old relegated to third in the pecking order.
Having made only two first-team appearances in the last two seasons, Adrian has reportedly been chopped from Liverpool’s Europa League squad. The arrival of Ryan Gravenberch effectively forced Klopp to sacrifice one of his existing players to make room for the Dutchman.
Under Premier League rules, Gravenberch would be listed as an under-21 player alongside other homegrown talent, but UEFA regulations are different.
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In European competition, Gravenberch will feature alongside Liverpool’s foreign stars on ‘List A’, leaving Klopp with 18 squad members and only 17 spots in which to place them.
Adrian’s lowly status at Anfield means that the veteran stopper may well have played his final game for the club. Kelleher is highly thought of at Liverpool and many tipped him to move on in search of regular game time this summer.
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The Republic of Ireland international’s decision to stick around is therefore expected to be rewarded with frequent minutes in cup competitions, leaving little room for Adrian, who has less than a year left on his contract, to see any action.
The outcast stopper came through at Real Betis before signing for West Ham in 2013. The best spell of his career came in east London, where he made 150 first-team appearances and convinced Liverpool to bring him on board four years ago.
The Reds get their Europa League campaign underway against LASK on September 21, shortly after the international break. Klopp’s fifth-place finish last term has dropped his side into Europe’s second-tier club competition for the first time since 2016.
This campaign has started on a more positive note for the German. Chelsea are the only team to have taken points from Liverpool thus far, with wins over Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Newcastle United providing cause for optimism among fans.
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