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Caoimhin Kelleher On His Penalty Shootout Heroics Against Leicester City

The youngster made two successful saves to send the Reds through to the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

Liverpool v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Quarter Final Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Wednesday looked a bit of a dud, to be honest. Leicester City came to Anfield for the Carabao Cup, put Liverpool two-nil down in the early parts of the first half, and made it 3 before the end of it. And then the mighty Leicester couldn’t handle the pressure as the Reds forced them into shambolic defending, and made it a 3-3 draw by the end of full time. Naturally, rather than a replay or extra time, it went straight to a nervy penalty shootout with a youngster in goal versus a veteran.

Anfield was at it’s best in that last half and for the boys, helping out Caoimhin Kelleher.

“I don’t really know what’s happening, but when I made that save and I hear the crowd, it’s an amazing feeling, to be honest,” Kelleher said, following the win.

The scoreline at halftime may have been dire, there was still time to play for, and Jürgen Klopp let the Redmen know that the fans would be behind them if they fought for it.

“Obviously we didn’t get off to a great start and at half-time we’re obviously 3-1 down, [but] we actually felt quite confident because the goals we gave away were kind of mostly our fault really, giving the ball away,” the goalkeeper continued.

“The manager just said at half-time, ‘If you get the next goal this crowd will get up and anything can happen.’ So we always believe right to the end and that showed.”

The fight was aided by the substitutions of James Milner, Diogo Jota, and Ibrahim Konate at the half as well, lending their experience to the lads that had started the match. Twenty minutes later and Jota would have the second goal for the Reds - that all important fuel to the Anfield fire.

“I think some of the more senior boys coming on at half-time helped us a bit get that bit more control in the game and push forward. Mostly for the second half we were just camped in their half, so the senior players coming on did help us,” Kelleher added.

“Like we always show, we never give up and always keep going until the end and like you saw, we got that goal at the end again because we never stopped believing and the crowd just kept pushing us on.”

At 23, Kelleher has also become the youngest goalkeeper in Liverpool’s history to win two penalty shootouts with Liverpool, and he relishes the moments of unexpected calm that come with it.

“Yeah, I enjoy the moment, it’s a nice moment. There’s not much pressure on you, if you don’t save it [then] it is what it is, but I always relish it and enjoy the chance to try to make a save.”

Those two important saves certainly helped on Wednesday.