Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher impressed on his Champions League debut, helping The Reds to a 1-0 win over Dutch giants Ajax.
Curtis Jones’ second-half goal was all that separated the sides at the final whistle and there was no bigger smile in Anfield than that on goalkeeper Kelleher’s face. The young Irishman played a huge part, making saves in the first and second half for The Reds. His reaction save from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s header late in the game was a particular highlight.
Kelleher also looked very comfortable on the ball, displaying great confidence and accuracy with both feet and showing fine distribution skills, both of the ground and from his hands.
Jürgen Klopp headed straight for Kelleher at the final whistle to congratulate the 22-year-old.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com after the match, Kelleher was asked how he felt after the win and when exactly he had found out he would be playing.
“Just over the moon really with how the whole night went for me and for the whole team to get the win and to qualify. Just delighted.
“So I found out yesterday, I got told by management and stuff. Then in the team shape we did, I was the starting goalie. So I found out yesterday. Obviously I was excited when I found out and then just tried to focus on the game from there.”
Kelleher then spoke about the save in the first half that settled his nerves, as well as the overall team performance on a night when The Reds could, and probably should have won by more.
“Obviously it [the save] just kind of settles you in, I suppose. It gives you more confidence that you can make them and gave me confidence from there. Thankfully I was able to make a few others.
“We had a few chances there in the second half especially, I thought that we could’ve scored a few more. I think the main thing tonight was to get the win and qualify. There’s so many games in this hectic schedule that we just need to do our best. We’ve qualified tonight, so that was the main objective.”
It looks like Kelleher will be starting again on Sunday evening as Liverpool welcome Wolves to Anfield in the Premier League. The injury sustained by Alisson this week will also keep him out for this weekend at least.
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