Another penalty shootout, another masterclass by Caoimhin Kelleher. It was the story of the night at Anfield when Liverpool beat Derby and advanced to the fourth round of the League Cup on Wednesday.
The 90 minutes were not the most beautiful. It was great to see a lot of young players who got the opportunity to make an impression, but to tell the truth, for most of the second half it seemed that the game would be decided on penalties.
It’s good that, according to Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have the best No. 2 goalkeeper in the game, right?
Here, Jack Sear from This Is Anfield (@JackSear) is joined by Matt Ladson (@mattladson) and Dave Comerford (@Dave_Comerford) to talk to the youth about Kelleher’s heroism and the potential of another cup this season.
A few chaotic days off the field… after that, the feeling of relief is overwhelming, isn’t it?
MATT: League Cup games are always pleasant because there is usually a lot of tension, but then it would be quite unpleasant to go to the side of the first league, so it became tense because of the penalty!
I still can’t come to terms with the fact that since 2016 we haven’t won a single League Cup match at Anfield in 90 minutes.
JACK: It was quite clear this week that Liverpool just needed to find a way to get two wins before the break, and talk of a takeover only highlighted that, in fact.
One down, one to go.
DAVE: It was great to focus on the action on the field again. Unfortunately, the mentioned actions on the field were not particularly interesting, although they intensified in the second half.
I think when you make 11 substitutions, play with many young players and put up new combinations in each area of the team, you kind of agree that you will see a disjointed game.
At this stage, it all comes down to just getting the result, not necessarily being stylish. Fortunately, Liverpool did it.
To be fair, I was impressed that even this team was able to demonstrate almost complete control, with 74 percent possession of the ball against an almost complete Derby team.
Which of the young men do you remember?
DAVE: Calvin Ramsey built on an encouraging cameo against Napoli last week with a really good full debut. I don’t think that any particular area of his game made the greatest impression on me, rather, it was the authority he possessed. He was so involved in the game and looked pretty strong.
And then you should have mentioned Ben Doak. If I’m not mistaken, he was the youngest teenager to play for the Reds, but apart from Ramsey, he was the best. His precise control and dribbling already seem elite. This exhaustion will only increase the hype.
In addition, thanks to Harvey Elliott, who showed real skill when he entered the field, and with the highest composure realized the winning penalty.
Matt: Yeah, it was Doak, wasn’t it. Ran into defenders, made more strokes in his cameo than any other player. I don’t want to praise such a young player, but there is a potential for Michael Owen to appear.
Hopefully, Doak and others will get a good opportunity in the next round.
JACK: It was really nice to see how Ramsey got the game, and even after the first 45 minutes you could see what he was like. Another extreme defender who is very comfortable to own, and as Dave mentioned, I was impressed with how he acted against the physical side.
Doak’s cameo didn’t surprise me. You only need to see a couple of goals at youth level to see that he has the makings of a serious player, while Stefan Baisetic and Bobby Clarke are also clearly great talents.
Kelleher is a great goalkeeper for shootouts, isn’t he?
Matt: It was even a good penalty! Just super saves.
JACK: I wonder if this could be his last season at the club? There is no doubt that he deserves to play regular football.
DAVE: The opposition can also admit defeat when the game ends on the same level! It’s overwhelming.
Obviously, the flip side of Liverpool, as Jack mentions, is that Kelleher’s latest heroics will attract more attention, and it won’t be a surprise to see him push for a move next summer.
After all, he’s about to turn 24, and Alisson isn’t going anywhere.
Matt: Yes, it’s a worry that he’ll want to leave. We can’t make him happy. I would like us to hire someone for a while as a safety net and give Kelleher somewhere to rent for a season or two.
Perhaps Marcelo Pitaluga will be able to become a reserve goalkeeper next season, which will allow Kelleher to go on loan.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal are already out of the game. Do you want another cup this season?
DAVE: Last season, all four semifinalists were Big six teams, and now half of them have already been eliminated.
Liverpool definitely have an opportunity, and if the draw goes in their favor, as it did in the first rounds of last season, they will have every chance to defend the trophy. Let’s not forget that they now have only two wins out of the last four, given that they entered the competition at a rather late stage.
We will also need to see what condition the players will be in on December 20-22, because they have not played in competitions for more than a month.
jack: In the next round, only nine other Premier League teams will be in the hat…
MATT: Already seven clubs from the Premier League have been eliminated from the tournament (one from Villa or United), so there are good chances of a draw in the next round.
Before you know it, it’s the end of January and you’re in the semifinals.
However, I am not sure that we have the support in attack that we had last season Origi and Minamino, so we will need all the strikers (Diaz and Hota) for this.