Danny Ward’s impressive displays during his loan spell at Huddersfield Town have ensured he remains very much on Jürgen Klopp’s radar.
That’s the view of former Liverpool stopper Chris Kirkland, who has offered his insight on how Ward will benefit from the recently-finished season.
The Welsh international became a big favourite with the Terriers’ supporters as the club achieved promotion to the top flight for the first time since 1971-72.
Ward saved two penalties in the play-off semi-final success against Sheffield Wednesday that earned Huddersfield a trip to Wembley and a shot at the Premier League.
And there he produced another heroic display for David Wagner’s side, making a vital save in the dramatic penalty shootout win over Reading which took Town up.
Kirkland has no doubt the 23-year-old will return to Melwood in July a stronger goalkeeper.
“Danny will have benefited hugely from his spell with Huddersfield because, having played in it myself, I can tell you the Championship is a tough, tough league,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He played regular football and it ended up with him playing a big part in helping Huddersfield Town reach the Premier League, which is fantastic.
“The pressure of playing in those games will have helped him the most and it will also help him for the future when he plays in the big games again.
“To be the hero again in the penalty shootout is a dream scenario if you are a goalkeeper.
“His confidence must be sky high and he will now enjoy a well-deserved break.
“Then it’s a case of coming back and working hard and see what happens, because ultimately he wants to play for Liverpool.”
Asked what he admires most about Ward, Kirkland explained there are many positive attributes to his game.
“He is a confident lad and a confident goalkeeper and I like that about him,” he added.
“Huddersfield play out from the back a lot under Wagner and he has got good feet and it was a loan spell that went really well for him.
“Klopp and Wagner are good friends so the manager will have been kept informed of his progress.”
Kirkland also reserved special praise for Simon Mignolet, who he believes played a major role in helping the Reds secure Champions League qualification.
Liverpool’s No.22 was an influential figure as he kept four consecutive clean sheets in the final four games of 2016-17 and Jürgen Klopp’s charges ended the campaign with a top-four finish.
“Simon was brilliant and it was great to see him prove one or two people wrong,” he added.
“He took a lot of unjust stick during the season but that’s the life of a goalkeeper.
“He came back into the team and was absolutely superb, so fair play to Simon and I was absolutely delighted for him.
“He’s got to carry that on next season now because we are back in the Champions League and he will have to be at his best like he was for the last part of the season.”