Wednesday night’s victory over Arsenal at Anfield belongs to Liverpool’s young players. Jürgen Klopp entrusted a large portion of his Carabao Cup round of 16 team sheet to the likes of Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster, and Caoimhin Kelleher, and plenty of other faces from the Reds’ burgeoning Academy. And it’s a win that will live long in their memories.
Each team scored five goals. Divock Origi was all over it, of course, coming up big. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a major, major goal out of nowhere. That long-range, spicy meatball of his.
Once the penalty shoot out began, the match was all about young Caoimhin Kelleher in goal. The match had turned into something gargantuan for Curtis Jones, Sepp van den Berg, and Neco Williams, who got all the accolades for his assist after Origi’s eye-catching volley for Liverpool’s fifth goal.
Jones stepped up to secure the winning penalty but it was Kelleher’s save of Dani Ceballos’ shot that gave Liverpool the advantage.
The Irish goalkeeper can look back and be proud of his performance against Arsenal. But right now he’s still blinded by the pure elation he will be experiencing after doing all the best things in front of all the best people inside the best place.
“I don’t really know to be honest, a bit of a whirlwind there,” said Kelleher.
“I’m obviously happy but it’s hard to sum up at the moment. It’s all gone by quite quick. It’s just unreal, to be honest.
“It was unbelievable tonight to hear them singing ‘You Never Walk Alone’ and you’re actually playing. It’s quite surreal. It’s just an unreal feeling. It was class.
Kelleher credits the drive to give everything until the final whistle as the reason for Liverpool’s win. We may not see much of the younger players on the fringes of the first team but many of them are training every day with the full squad at Melwood.
“It goes right through the whole squad. We have a never-say-die attitude. And we showed that once again, coming from behind on a few occasions. And right at the death, Div scored an unreal goal to keep us in it.”
Divock Origi, again. Divock with a scissor kick for the final equalizer. He must never leave.