Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland looks set to gain some valuable first-team actio
Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland looks set to gain some valuable first-team action over the next couple of weeks as Reds' boss Gerard Houllier brings in the young stopper to replace the out-of-form Jerzy Dudek.Kirkland signed at Anfield on the same day last season as the Pole, but has been restricted to only a handful of starts in the Liverpool line-up with Dudek being handed the number one jersey. However, a recent slump in confidence for the 29-year old, who was one of the Merseyside giants' most valuable players last season, has opened the door for the England Under-21 to show the country his full potential.
Though Dudek looked impressive in their Worthington Cup win over Ipswich on Wednesday, Houllier revealed that Kirkland will be his number one for the next three games: "Chris will play the game at Charlton on Saturday and the Uefa tie with Vitesse Arnhem as well as the game after that at Sunderland." He said.
The extended run of games for the former Coventry City player will give him a great opportunity to gain some Premiership experience and a chance to fulfil some of the promise that he has shown to become a future England keeper.
England's goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence knows Kirkland well and feels that he has the credentials to emerge as a great contender for England's last line of defence. He told TheFA.com: "Chris is an excellent prospect. At 6"5 he has a real presence. He is very good at dealing with crosses and is an excellent shot-stopper.
"He also commands the people in front of him and is a very good learner who takes everything in on the training ground. He wants to get better and better."