Liverpool are raring to resume competitive football this week and head to Manchester City determined to not relinquish their hold of the Carabao Cup, explained Caoimhin Kelleher.
The Reds’ season begins again after a six-week break on Thursday night with a trip to Etihad Stadium for a fourth-round tie versus Pep Guardiola’s side.
A fortnight’s training camp in Dubai, including two friendly fixtures, ramped up the squad’s preparations but now they’re eager and ready for more of the real thing.
“Obviously it has been a long break now for all of us – so we’re obviously itching to get back,” Kelleher told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We can’t wait to start the cup game against City now. We had a good time out in Dubai so we’re well prepared and all raring to go.
“Our mindset is that we want to win it again. We know it’s going to be a tough game against City but we are the holders and we want to show we’re the holders for a reason. We want to try to progress to the next round and try to win it.”
Having starred as Jürgen Klopp’s men lifted the trophy last season, Kelleher was the hero once more when their defence of it started at home to Derby County in November.
The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper produced three excellent saves to help win the penalty shootout that followed a goalless stalemate at Anfield.
And as he awaits his next chance between the posts, Kelleher feels his confidence is growing with each opportunity.
“Yeah, of course,” said the No.62. “When you play more games you obviously get more confident each game you play. It’s good experience for me, the games I have played, so I’m confident and ready to go.”
On the challenge awaiting the Reds, Kelleher added: “Everyone knows City are a top, top team. It will be a tough test again for us but hopefully we can get a win and go to the next round.”
The journey to Manchester marks the start of a busy festive schedule for Liverpool.
Premier League clashes with Aston Villa, Leicester City and Brentford follow Thursday’s fixture, before their Emirates FA Cup campaign gets under way at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the New Year.
Kelleher underscored the desire within the squad to swiftly build up form on their return to action.
“The camp [in Dubai] has been great for us, to be prepared for that,” he added. “We know we need to be straight at it and hit the ground running, give us a good start and a good base to push on for the rest of the season.”