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‘Lampard doesn’t need a goalkeeper who is a liability’ – Melchiot backs Chelsea boss’ decision to drop Kepa

The 38-year-old Willy Caballero was brought in for the crucial Premier League clash against Leicester, and many suggested he should keep his place

Kepa Arrizabalaga is in danger of losing his place in the Chelsea team to Willy Caballero permanently if he develops a reputation as a ‘liability’, according to former Blues defender Mario Melchiot.

The world’s most expensive goalkeeper found himself dropped at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with the 38-year-old Caballero preferred for a crucial game with top-four rivals Leicester.

Caballero made some impressive saves in the 2-2 draw, and did little to merit losing his place between the posts.

Asked if the Argentine should remain in the team, Melchiot told Sky Sports News: “As long as he keeps performing.

“We all know Caballero; sometimes he gets too comfortable on the ball and takes too much time.

“I don’t want him to take any risks – just play a simple game, like you expect a goalkeeper to do.

“If he does that, I don’t see how Kepa is going to get his spot back.”

Kepa, 25, has come in for criticism this season after a number of unconvincing performances.

Prior to the Leicester game, he had played every game for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, with Caballero preferred in the cup competitions.

Caballero had played twice in each of the Carabao Cup and League Cup, and though he only kept one clean sheet in those games, Melchiot believes Frank Lampard’s patience with Kepa has been worn thin.

“Frank took a long time and he assessed it for a while,” he added.

“The defence have also been questioned but now that [Antonio] Rudiger came back, Frank maybe feels: ‘OK, I have now a main focus point. Now I need my goalkeeper to be solid. I can’t have a liability.’

“I was at the game when Ajax turned up (the 4-4 Champions League draw in November) and he conceded a free-kick and I looked at it like, ‘what’s going on?’

“The decision-making and not making the right adjustments – that wasn’t good enough.

“I don’t want to say that Kepa is not a good goalkeeper but you don’t want your goalkeeper to be a liability. Chelsea have never had that – [Carlo] Cudicini, Petr Cech, [Thibaut] Courtois. Good goalkeepers.

“When a goalkeeper gets pulled out of a starting XI, it’s way different than [an outfield] player.”

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