Jürgen Klopp on 'exceptional' Kelleher, shootout win over Derby, Ben Doak and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on 'exceptional' Kelleher, shootout win over Derby, Ben Doak and more

Published 9th November 2022
By Sam Williams and James Carroll at Anfield

Jürgen Klopp hailed Caoimhin Kelleher after more penalty shootout heroics from his No.2 goalkeeper secured Liverpool's place in round four of the Carabao Cup.

Kelleher saved three of Derby County's spot-kicks as the Reds ran out 3-2 winners on penalties following Wednesday's 0-0 third-round draw at Anfield.

Harvey Elliott then converted decisively from 12 yards to make sure the holders will be in Thursday night's draw for the next stage of the competition.

Klopp also discussed the performance of his completely changed side, the impact of 16-year-old Ben Doak off the bench and more in his post-match press conference…

Watch extended highlights and the penalty shootout

On Kelleher and the fact he has now won the most shootouts of any goalkeeper in Liverpool's history (four) after just 18 appearances...

Wow! Let's just talk about tonight, I can't remember the others [saves in shootouts], but of course they were good as well. Tonight they were three really good penalties, they all go in the corner, so it's not like it's a bad one and they mishit the ball or slip a little bit before they shoot. No, they were really good and he saved them anyway, so that's massive. 

I think we never hold it back somehow and said Caoimh could not play – no, no, no, he is exceptional, he is absolutely exceptional. Had now not the best season so far because he came back from holiday and was injured and it took a really long time to get him back in training and back to speed. The goalkeeper coaches are just doing an incredible job, he is there and I am pretty sure he would say it exactly the same, he is their product.

He does what they do with him and the goalie they developed is a modern goalie: calm as you like, can play football and on top of that can catch balls and kick the ball out in a really good manner and that's really good. I am over the moon for him that he could have these situations and when you see him, this very grounded boy, he barely smiles but when he smiles you know it means a lot to him so, really cool.

On whether his reputation strikes fear into opponents before and during shootouts…

He has still a lot of goalkeeper years to come so if he could keep that record it would be exceptional and they would be completely insane numbers. So, he did really well.

On his team's performance…

I liked it, I liked it again. It is the most difficult thing in football if you are put in a team together and you face an opponent who is deep defending, [has] a lot of legs, counter-attacking, long ball, set-pieces, all these kind of things. We obviously didn't have a lot of time to prepare the game but we could at least train once because with this team, that's why we changed. That's what I said last year - people always don't like it when you get knocked out and it's like, '[The team was] very young, you don't take the competition serious.' Was never true but we have to do two things: make sure we don't risk anybody, that's very important, and the other thing is that we really love to give the boys the opportunity.

So you can now imagine, even if we lose the game tonight in a penalty shootout, if the people wouldn't have seen Stefan, Bobby, Ben, Mel, Layton, Fabio is only a little bit older, if at all, Calvin of course, and then Harvey comes on so there were eight or nine really young boys and it's so nice to see them, that you can give them the opportunity to play real man's football against a team who wanted to get through obviously. We all know, I am pretty sure, I didn't ask anybody, for Derby these games would have been really important money-wise, another round, maybe another big Premier League team away or at Derby where they would fill the stadium themselves. And then to get through, it's just a great experience.

On the fourth round being played in the midweek before Christmas and how that will impact preparations...

I don't know yet, but we will find the solutions. Obviously, we have players at the World Cup but we have a big group together for pre-season [training camp] and probably will use them then. It makes sense, I think. But that's it. We will know where we have to go tomorrow [after the draw] and stuff like this. We are in a training camp, we will come back and then we will have a few days to prepare for this game. It's fine, we love playing football by the way, it's not a problem, but three or four days after the World Cup final… let me say, if it is England, Brazil, Holland or whatever, we will miss a few players probably but let's see.

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On Doak's performance after coming on as a substitute...

That's Ben. His instructions were easy: do what you do all the time. He is really a lively boy, a smart player, good dribbler, fast, can use both legs. He's good. It was nice to watch, really nice to watch - him coming in and immediately a lot of things are obviously natural to him, which is really helpful. I am pretty sure his family was here tonight. I can remember when I saw the family at the AXA [Training Centre] when we signed the boy, how excited everybody was. Now having this night, it's the next step, it's cool. He showed up, obviously.

Published 9th November 2022