Caoimhín Kelleher is Liverpool's penalty hero once more with three brilliant saves against Derby

Cork keeper denied Bandon native Conor Hourihane in the Carabao Cup shootout at Anfield.
Caoimhín Kelleher is Liverpool's penalty hero once more with three brilliant saves against Derby

Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saves a penalty from Derby County's Craig Forsyth in the Carabao Cup third round match at Anfield. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire.

CAOIMHÍN Kelleher marked his Liverpool return by saving three penalties as Liverpool beat Derby County 3-2 in a shoot-out after a stalemate in the Carabao Cup at Anfield.

The goalkeeper made sure that the Reds' title defence got off to a perfect start on Wednesday evening.

This was Kelleher’s first appearance of the season for Jurgen Klopp and he denied fellow Cork man Conor Hourihane along with Craig Forsyth and Lewis Dobbin.

The victory came after a quiet game for the 23-year-old, whose biggest contribution was a late save to stop a header from Jeff McGoldrick.

All in all, it was a comfortable and welcoming comeback for the goalkeeper who stole the hearts of millions when he helped Liverpool overcome Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final last February.

Kelleher was ever-present in their journey to Wembley as he stopped penalties against Norwich City and Leicester City. He pulled off a number of impressive saves against Chelsea, and he scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his young shot-stopper, with the German calling him the ‘best number two in the world’.

The goalkeeper has a habit of saving penalties in the cup, as he has featured in four shoot-outs in three years in the Carabao Cup.

Back in 2019, he made his Anfield debut in a victory over Arsenal and last year he stopped Leicester at the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Kelleher will be now hoping to kick on after the international break with the Reds going into a congested schedule that features four competitions.

Liverpool will play almost two games a week now in the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, and Champions League.

With Allison Becker and Brazil expected to go all the way at the World Cup, Klopp will need a proven goalkeeper in reserve.

The showpiece tournament will kick off next weekend and the Premier League will return with a full slate of games on St Stephen’s Day.

Before that happens, Kelleher is expected to get called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for upcoming friendlies against Norway and Malta.

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