Following a post-Christmas Covid layoff for first choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker, the Liverpool star displaced Caoimhin Kelleher for the first leg of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Arsenal last week.
The 23-year-old Irish stopper is expected back in for the second leg, though, and with the tie standing nil-nil at the half-way point, Kelleher is looking forward to the chance to play in a game with a final appearance on the line.
“It’ll be a big game, obviously my first semi-final and there’s all to play for in the second leg,” the young goalkeeper told the club’s official website ahead of Thursday night’s kickoff. “Hopefully I can be on the winning side.
“I think it’ll be a completely different game. For 70 minutes they were down to 10 men so I think this game will be completely different. It will be both of us really going for the win and not one team sitting back, I think.”
In the past, Liverpool have often benefitted from Arsenal’s willingness to play an open and attacking game against them, but in last week’s first leg that man disadvantage led to the Gunners taking a defensive stance.
Attempting to see out a nil-nil draw when you’ve got a second leg—and at home, no less—to play was unquestionably the smart approach for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal but made for a less than compelling game of football.
Kelleher, though, is looking forward to a game tonight with more chances—and hopefully more goals for his side, even if that will likely mean more chances for the opposition that he will be called upon to take care of.
“It’s always difficult to break down 10 men behind the ball,” the Liverpool goalkeeper added. “It’s not easy, so when both teams are going for it more gaps and more chances will appear, which might suit us.”