The Reds’ goalkeeping coach, John Achterberg, has explained the thinking behind the inclusion of veteran stopper and free-agent, Andy Lonergan, for the USA pre-season tour.
“We do this because obviously we are really light in the goalkeeping area,” Achterberg transparently told the club’s official website.
“Ali is on holiday, Kamil is going out on loan to Huddersfield, Caoimhin has an injury, so that leaves us only with Si really and one young boy, Dan Atherton. We need some cover in training so we thought we’d bring someone in who can help us [so we] don’t overload the goalkeepers in training.
“Basically we’re bringing him in for training and we can try to help him get fit and we’ll see how it goes from there. It’s like he helps us and we help him to get fit,” the Dutch coach said.
“It’s always good to have an experienced goalie to be able to talk to, for the young ones to talk about his experience and stuff. That’s always good.
“We just hope that he can help us over the next few weeks and we can help him to try to get to a reasonable fitness level and then we’ll take it from there.”
It goes without saying that having an experience head around the training camp is going to be beneficial for Jürgen Klopp’s younger players to learn from.
Perhaps somewhat less thought about is how it will help Lonergan himself. At 35-years-old, the journeyman stopper can keep himself fit if he wants to continue his career during this free agency.
Never having played in the Premier League, Lonergan was most recently playing for Rochdale in League One. That said, there are always tricks and know-how to be learned in every experience, and the Preston-born glovesman will surely be able to impart his advice and wisdom around the camp.
As Achterberg states, Alisson Becker is on a post-Copa América winning break, Kamil Grabara recently joining Huddersfield Town on loan, and Caoimhin Kelleher and Vitezslav Jaros are ruled out through injury.
Simon Mignolet played 81 minutes of the Bradford pre-season friendly, before being replaced for the last bit of the match by Daniel Atherton shortly after conceding a penalty in the 3-1 victory.
Injury to Paul Glatzel in the Tranmere Rovers had previously seen Atherton subbed on; however, in diametric opposition to his usual role, Klopp literally substituted the striker for the 19-year-old ‘keeper.