Kelleher stellar as Liverpool advance on penalties in Carabao Cup

Liverpool began their defence of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night as they defeat Derby County 3-2 on penalties at Anfield. A quiet first half saw few chances created from either side, but it was the hosts who should have gone in with the lead at the break after Fabio Carvalho combined with Layton Stewart who couldn’t keep his effort on target.

The Reds showed more intensity in the second half, though full control didn’t seem to be established until Jurgen Klopp’s triple substitution just after the hour mark, with Roberto Firmino, Darwin Nunez, and Harvey Elliott all introduced.

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Elliott had the best chance when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain timed an intricate ball over Derby County’s defence, but Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to stop the game from going to penalties after 90 minutes without a score.

Stefan Bajcetic missed Liverpool’s first, but three saves from Caoimhin Kelleher ensured Harvey Elliott could send the Reds through to the next round.

Positives

A world class display in the penalty shootout by Caoimhin Kelleher ensured Liverpool would make it through to the next round. A strong result for the champions who go through to the next round after trusting their squad to get the job done.

Negatives

No negatives after a solid performance, though some could argue that Liverpool tempted fate in the competition by deploying a youthful team.

Manager Rating (out of 10)

Jurgen Klopp, 6 — A well-timed triple substitution saw Klopp introduce his senior players at the right time, and his side controlled the game despite making multiple changes.

Players Rating (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Caoimhin Kelleher, 10 — The Republic of Ireland international didn’t have too much to do on the night with Derby unable to create many opportunities of promise. A sensational performance in the penalty shootout ensured Liverpool would go through.

DF Kostas Tsimikas, 7 — Came close to opening the scoring in the first half but smashed his volley wide of the goal. Regularly marauded up the left-flank and put in some promising crosses after positive link-up play with Bobby Clark.

DF Joe Gomez, 7 — Won the majority of balls that came into the box and was quick to track runners who looked to run in behind Liverpool’s highline. Applied vital pressure in the 80th minute in a moment of danger for the Reds.

DF Nat Phillips, 8 — An excellent display from Nat Phillips who seemed to be the man to disrupt multiple of Derby County’s attacks. Transitioned the ball out from the back well, and was also dominant when challenging for balls in the air.

DF Calvin Ramsay, 6 — It looked as though Ramsay could have adjusted the dials slightly on some of his forward passes, though he played positively and battled hard on the right flank.

MF Stefan Bajcetic, 6 — Displayed his range of passing from the anchor position and was aggressive with the times he applied pressure to Derby County midfielders looking to break. An assured performance overall from Stefan Bajcetic.

MF Bobby Clark, 6 — The 17-year-old midfielder looked bright in close spaces and was able to maintain Liverpool’s tempo in the attacking third.

MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 7 — Oxlade-Chamberlain looked to take the game in his stride from midfield and transitioned the ball quickly to his team mates around him. An intricate pass produced the best chance of the match for Harvey Elliott who couldn’t get the power to beat the goalkeeper.

FW Fabio Carvalho, 6 — Came in and out of the game in spells but looked dangerous when Liverpool were able to get the ball to him in space. Almost assisted the opener by creating the Reds’ best chance for Layton Stewart who blazed over.

FW Melkamu Frauendorf, 6 — Worked hard on the right-flank in a difficult competition against a Derby County side who played with aggression. Tracked back well to help out his defence during counter-attacking phases. Unlucky not to pick up an assist with a cross into Carvalho in the second-half.

FW Layton Stewart, 6 — The 20-year-old got his finish all wrong when Fabio Carvalho cut the ball back across the box, with his connection sending it over the bar.

Substitutes

MF Harvey Elliott (Clark, 64′), 7 — Added a level of class into midfield and was able to provide passes that cut-through Derby’s defensive lines. Scored the winning penalty.

FW Roberto Firmino (Frauendorf, 66′), 6 — Connected well with a header late-on to draw a strong hand from goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.

FW Darwin Nunez (Stewart, 66′), 6 — The Uruguay international couldn’t seem to get into the game as much as he would have liked, and sometimes drifted out to the left-flank where he wasn’t as effective.

MF Ben Doak (Carvalho, 74′), N/R — A senior Liverpool debut for the 16-year-old. Doak looked bright in possession and was direct with his running at defenders.

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