During a season in which first-choice Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has struggled for form and confidence, one rumoured Liverpool target has further enhanced his reputation this week with a fine showing in the Europa League.
Still only 22, Club Brugge goalkeeper Mat Ryan has been one of the players of the season for the Belgian side as part of a campaign that could yet end in European and domestic glory for the club.
Australia’s first-choice keeper at international level, playing between the sticks for the Socceroos at the World Cup in Brazil and Asian Cup earlier this year, Ryan was recently named Belgium Pro League Goalkeeper of the Year for a second successive season.
Little wonder then that Liverpool have been linked with a move for the keeper, with The Mirror reporting the Reds’ interest back in January.
Since then Ryan has gone from strength to strength and was the star performer for Brugge in their Europa League quarter-final clash with Dnipro this week.
The Belgian giants had the Australian to thank for their 0-0 first-leg draw in Bruges, with the goalkeeper picking up the man of the match award as part of a stalemate that gives his team a realistic chance of progressing to the last four.
Busy throughout the encounter, Ryan’s crowning moment came with just two minutes remaining, with the Australian pulling off a stunning, low one-handed save to deny Yevhen Konoplyanka what looked a certain goal - as captured by Twitter user @olivierdewolf.
It was a fitting time to shine with the Ukrainian another reported Liverpool target, according to The Metro.
On the basis of Ryan’s performance, however, it’s the keeper who should be the Reds’ first priority when it comes to spending on transfers this summer.