Caoimhín Kelleher helps Liverpool past Arsenal into cup final

Cork keeper played his part in a 2-0 victory in London; next up it's Chelsea at Wembley
Caoimhín Kelleher helps Liverpool past Arsenal into cup final

Liverpool's Irish goalkeeper Caoimhín Kellehergets a fingertip to the ball as it hits the crossbar from Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette. Picture: IAN KINGTON/IKIMAGES/AFP via Getty Images

CAOIMHÍN Kelleher is off to Wembley for the Carabao Cup final following Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal.

The Cork goalkeeper played 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium on a night that saw two goals from Diogo Jota send the Reds through to their first domestic cup final since 2016. Liverpool will now face cup specialists Chelsea in the decider on February 27.

Kelleher was involved from the first whistle as he passed the ball out to Virgil van Dijk and Joël Matip to kick-start Liverpool’s attacks. 

He was called into action in the fourth minute when Arsenal won a free-kick in front of the penalty area. Alexandre Lacazette hit this and the ball curled towards the top corner of the goal. Kelleher sprung off his line instantly and clawed it away from danger, saving Liverpool.

Arsenal played defensively in the first half and they tried to take advantage of Liverpool’s high-line. Kelleher’s sweeper-keeper abilities came in handy here, as he came forward to assist Matip and Van Dijk in clearing any balls over the top.

The Cork-man then played the pass which set up the opening goal at the Emirates Stadium. Kelleher passed to Matip who played a quick pass to Roberto Firmino, who flicked the ball into the path of Trent Alexander Arnold. 

The full-back then set up Jota who finished the move by cutting inside and then hitting the ball into the far corner of the goal. It was an excellent team goal, which began with the touch of Kelleher inside his own box.

The Cork-man had a quiet second half, with his biggest moment coming from a stern save to deny Gabriel Martinelli from a tight angle.

Liverpool’s second goal came from the restart, and it was a lofted finish from an in-form Jota.

This was Kelleher’s third game for Liverpool in this season’s Carabao Cup. His first appearance was away to Norwich last September in the third round, and he saved a penalty in a 3-0 victory for Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Liverpool beat Preston North End in the next round and Kelleher missed this game due to an illness. He returned in December 2021 for a quarter-final clash with Leicester City at Anfield. The goalkeeper saved two penalties that night following a 3-3 draw in normal time.

Kelleher did miss the first leg of Liverpool’s semi-final against Arsenal. This is because Klopp wanted to start Alisson Becker, who was returning from injury.

Thursday’s game was another fine display in January from Kelleher, who played against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier this month. Kelleher impressed that day during a 2-2 draw in front of a worldwide audience.

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