John Achterberg has explained why Andy Lonergan joining Liverpool's tour of the United States as a training goalkeeper is mutually beneficial for player and club.
Lonergan will travel to America with the Reds’ squad on Tuesday to help cover a temporary shortage in the goalkeeping department in training, with Simon Mignolet currently the club’s sole available senior stopper.
Alisson Becker is on holiday following his Copa America triumph with Brazil, Kamil Grabara has joined Huddersfield Town on loan after signing a new long-term deal with Liverpool, Caoimhin Kelleher is recovering from minor wrist surgery, and Vitezslav Jaros is sidelined with an elbow injury.
Dan Atherton came on for Mignolet during Sunday’s 3-1 friendly win over Bradford City, and first-team goalkeeping coach Achterberg has decided to bring in 35-year-old Lonergan, who left Middlesbrough earlier this summer, for the trip to the US and the subsequent training camp in Evian.
“We do this because obviously we are really light in the goalkeeping area,” Achterberg told Liverpoolfc.com.
“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.”
Lonergan, who represented England at U20 level, has played for clubs including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham and Leeds United and Achterberg believes his presence in America will benefit Liverpool’s younger goalkeepers.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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