Not for the first time, Caoimhin Kelleher produced penalty heroics for Liverpool, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t be happier with him.
Liverpool’s second-string side were unable to break down a resolute Derby County defence in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening, with the match finishing 0-0 and thus going to penalties.
In the shoot-out that followed, the home side missed two penalties but were bailed out by Kelleher, who saved three of Derby’s, allowing Harvey Elliott to send the reigning champions through.
Despite making just 18 appearances for the club, Kelleher has now won the most penalty shoot-outs of any goalkeeper in Liverpool’s history, emerging victorious on four occasions.
Speaking after the match, Klopp heaped praise on the 23-year-old and his coaches.
“Tonight they were three really good penalties, they all go in the corner, so it’s not like it’s a bad one and they mishit the ball or slip a little bit before they shoot. No, they were really good and he saved them anyway, so that’s massive,” Klopp said.
“I think we never hold it back somehow and said Caoimh could not play – no, no, no, he is exceptional, he is absolutely exceptional.
“[He] had not the best season so far because he came back from holiday and was injured and it took a really long time to get him back in training and back to speed. The goalkeeper coaches are just doing an incredible job, he is there and I am pretty sure he would say it exactly the same, he is their product.
“I am over the moon for him that he could have these situations and when you see him, this very grounded boy, he barely smiles but when he smiles you know it means a lot to him so, really cool.”