He did it again. Liverpool FC’s backup goalkeeper produced some heroics again in the Carabao Cup to get the Reds into the next round. After a 0-0 draw, a penalty shootout was needed to determine the winner. Derby goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith (who was quite clearly off his line) saved the opening spot-kick from Stefan Bajcetic. Kelleher then made three stops against Conor Hourihane, Craig Forsyth and Lewis Dobbin. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Darwin Nunez, and Harvey Elliott converted to help push the Reds onto the fourth round of the League Cup.
With his saves, Kelleher became the first goalkeeper in the club’s history to win four penalty shootouts. In just eighteen appearances. Manager Jürgen Klopp was full of praise for Kelleher after game:
“I think we never hold it back, say ‘oh Caoimh, he could not play.’ No, he’s exceptional. He’s absolutely exceptional.”
“He had now not the best season so far, because he came back from holiday and was injured.”
“It took a really long time to get him back in training and back to speed. But he’s obviously ready now.”
“The goalkeeper coaches are just doing an incredible job. He’s just – and I’m pretty sure he would say it the same – their product.”
“What they do with him and the goalkeeper they developed is a modern goalie.”
“Calm as you like, can play football, and on top of that can catch balls and keep the ball out of the net in a really good manner.”
“That’s really good and I’m over the moon for him that he could have these situations.”
“When you see him, he’s a very grounded boy. He barely smiles, but when he smiles you know it means a lot to him. So, really cool.”
Liverpool will now play Southampton at home this Saturday, before league action takes a break for what seems to be world’s least successful sportswashing tournament - the World Cup in Qatar. When Liverpool are back, they’ll have a match mid-week on December 19 thereabouts to continue their Carabao Cup campaign, with the opponent to be determined by the draw.