Declan Rudd has answered his critics in style, turning in strong performances for Preston over the last year.

North End were linked with a number of goalkeepers in 2019, including Arijanet Muric before he joined Nottingham Forest instead.

Connor Ripley wasn’t really pushing Rudd, and Rudd was coming off a mixed season, but Preston stuck by him – even though one target emerged for last January.

Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images


Caoimhin Kelleher became a chief target for North End, with Liverpool allegedly seeking assurances about his playing time at Deepdale.

More claims emerged that Liverpool’s loan manager Julian Ward had held talks with Preston about a deal for Kelleher, but nothing materialised in January.

If Preston still had hopes of signing the 22-year-old, then they are surely over now after the Irishman achieved his big breakthrough at Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp surprisingly gave Kelleher a Champions League a start against Ajax last week, and he made a string of fine saves to give Liverpool a 1-0 win.

Liverpool FC v Ajax Amsterdam: Group D - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

With Alisson out, Kelleher has now leapfrogged Adrian in the Liverpool pecking order, and he earned a first Premier League start against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

Kelleher now has two clean sheets in two first-team games for Liverpool, and seems to have at least nailed down the role as second-choice stopper at Anfield.

Liverpool surely won’t be loaning Kelleher out any time soon, and any lingering Preston interest will surely fall on deaf ears, with Rudd certainly safe as first-choice at Deepdale.

Related Topics