Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp hailed goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher after more penalty shootout heroics secured their place in round four of the Carabao Cup.
Kelleher saved three of Derby County’s spot-kicks as the Reds ran out 3-2 winners on penalties following Wednesday’s 0-0 third-round draw at Anfield.
Harvey Elliott then converted decisively from 12 yards to make sure the holders will be in Thursday night’s draw for the next stage of the competition.
Klopp said, “Wow! Let’s just talk about tonight, I can’t remember the others [saves in shootouts], but of course they were good as well. 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.
“I think we never hold it back somehow and said Caoimh could not play – no, no, no, he is exceptional, he is absolutely exceptional. Had now 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.
“He does what they do with him and the goalie they developed is a modern goalie: calm as you like, can play football and on top of that can catch balls and kick the ball out in a really good manner and that’s really good. 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.”
Klopp was also delighted with the debut performance of teenage Scot Ben Doak.
“That’s Ben. His instructions were easy: do what you do all the time. He is really a lively boy, a smart player, good dribbler, fast, can use both legs. He’s good. It was nice to watch, really nice to watch – him coming in and immediately a lot of things are obviously natural to him, which is really helpful.
“I am pretty sure his family was here tonight. I can remember when I saw the family at the AXA when we signed the boy, how excited everybody was. Now having this night, it’s the next step, it’s cool. He showed up, obviously.”