Monday 21 October 2019

Jurgen Klopp praises Caoimhin Kelleher following impressive full debut from Irish keeper

Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Naby Keita celebrate after the match
Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Naby Keita celebrate after the match

Harry Clarke

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has lavished praise on young Irish goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher after the Corkman made an impressive full debut in last night's Carabao Cup win over MK Dons.

Klopp altered his entire starting line-up for the trip to stadium:mk as Harvey Elliott became the youngest player to start a competitive match for the club.

Kelleher made two smart saves from MK Dons' Jordan Bowery during an accomplished performance that left Klopp impressed.

"Very good moments, couple of individual performances," Klopp told the Liverpool website. "[For] 75 minutes we controlled the game, so then it was really tricky.

"Kelleher, to be honest, these games are there so the boys show how good they are. For a goalie, it's quite difficult in a game like this but then being there having not a lot to do over the whole game and then having these kind of saves, that's absolutely brilliant, so I'm happy about that as well."

While there were plenty of positives to take from the youngsters, Klopp was delighted with the performance from evergreen Milner as the 33-year-old set an example for his precocious team-mates to follow.

"This man is on fire," Klopp replied when asked about Milner's contribution.

"This is how it is, it is good. It helps a lot and he is a real role model for young players. If we could play every day he would be like this every day - that is how it is.

"The team had a lack of experience and a lack of rhythm and the player with the most experience and rhythm was the best player tonight.

"We were here to win the game, no other reason, so I am so happy we went through, that is cool."

At the other end of the career spectrum, Elliott put in an accomplished display on his record-breaking Liverpool debut as he twice hit the crossbar.

"16 years old still and this kind of footballer, it is good for us," added Klopp.

"(He is) a brilliant boy, takes the situation really well, wants to learn and he will always be a special player in moments but his overall game that is really, really good.

"He was a bit unlucky otherwise he would have scored, he is a good player but they are all good, we have no bad young players and that is why it is important we can give them these matches and try to continue like this."

Liverpool's reward is a visit from Unai Emery's Arsenal in the next round - the Gunners having already been turned over 3-1 in the Premier League meeting at Anfield earlier this season.

MK Dons boss Paul Tisdale was pleased with the effort of his players, who saw several decent chances fall by the wayside - with Jordan Bowery's late shot off the post the closest the hosts came to a goal.

Asked how he viewed the evening, Tisdale replied: "Overall pretty good, I was proud of the way they played and I'm disappointed for them that we didn't score a goal. Whether we deserved to score a goal or not I'm not sure but they deserved a goal.

"That is football. But I am really proud with the way we played, I regret not getting in at half-time 0-0, it was a position-based performance about keeping it tight."

Additional reporting from PA

Online Editors

The Left Wing - RWC Daily: End of an era as Ireland say sayonara to World Cup

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport