Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward has sent a warning to Simon Mignolet ahead of the new season by setting his sights on breaking into the first team following an impressive display in the Under-21 win over Leicester City.
The 21-year-old made saves from point-blank range to keep the Foxes to a single-goal, first-half advantage, before the hosts staged a comeback after the break with goals from Dan Cleary and Cameron Brannagan securing victory.
Ward's performance comes towards the end of a season where, despite keeping 13 clean sheets, though short of Ray Clemence's record of 28 for a single season, there are major questions over Mignolet's long-term future in the Liverpool goal.
Mignolet was dropped "indefinitely" midway through the season after a series of uncertain displays and replaced by Brad Jones, with manager Brendan Rodgers at the time admitting Liverpool need reinforcements in the area.
The Belgian has since returned to the Liverpool first team with far greater assurance to help the club cement fifth place in the Premier League, to all but dismiss any lingering doubts Rodgers may have over his capabilities.
And any temptation the manager may have had to improve his goalkeeping options will have been quashed by the performance of Ward who, after travelling on Liverpool's pre-season American tour and featuring as an unused substitute 19 times this season, appears to be ready for first-team responsibility.
"I'm really pleased though that's what we get paid to do as goalkeepers," he said after the 2-1 win. "It's disappointing not to keep the clean sheet today but it means a lot more when you manage to come back and get a win like that. It's always a nice feeling.
"The second save from the free header was probably my favourite. You've just got to hold your feet, you can't gamble on it really. Obviously we'd like to defend it a bit better in the first place but I've managed to get a hand on it thankfully. It's always nice to make the saves, especially when the team comes away with a win like this.
"Liverpool are a massive club and we want to get silverware whether it be the first team, 21s or 18s, we want to be successful whatever we do. I was fortunate enough to go away and get some games at Morecambe and that was massive for me, I needed that.
"To experience something like that for me, mentally as well as the physicality of the league and the pressure, playing in front of thousands of people who have paid to come and watch you, it's a good pressure to have. It's something I really enjoyed and hopefully there will be many more first-team appearances whether it be here or elsewhere."