Caoimhin Kelleher was used to taking a few knocks from playing hurling with his older brothers. His journey to Liverpool’s first-team had bumps too, with two of his appearances last season seeing him concede five goals in matches against Arsenal and Aston Villa. The 22-year-old, however, has seized his opportunity in the last week following Alisson’s hamstring injury. He has one full season on his contract at Anfield but looks a good prospect as a long-term option. Kelleher will play in Denmark on Wednesday evening against FC Midtjylland in a Champions League dead rubber, having moved ahead of Adrian in the pecking order. Jürgen Klopp will rest his senior players but “usually a goalie you don’t have to change”. It will be a third consecutive start for the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, whose older brothers played hurling, including Olan, who won the coveted Cork IHC for Blackrock last year with his younger sibling in the stands. “I had all the brothers who have played hurling so I was knocking around with them and trying my hand at it,” Kelleher said. “I was not the best at it so I did not pursue anything like that. “I have just been trying to take my opportunities. I have had two games and felt I have done well. That is all I can do, to be honest.” Alisson’s injury at Brighton meant he was handed a chance last week against Ajax, which resulted in a Klopp seeking him out for a bear hug at the final whistle, after helping secure a place in the knockout stages with a close-range save from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. “It was an instinctive, reaction save,” said Kelleher. “He was kind of close and I tried to get anything I could on it and I was able to get it away with safety. It was a nice moment to make that save and afterwards, for the manager to come up to me was a nice moment for me. I was not expecting it. “My phone was buzzing for about three hours after the game from friends, former coaches, family. Everyone really. Alisson texted me to say well done and that he was proud of me. All messages were nice and supportive.” Keeping his place for Sunday’s win against Wolves had the added dimension of having fans back in the Kop and saw him keep another clean sheet. “That was a class feeling,” he said. “Walking out and having fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was some feeling. I felt more comfortable after playing midweek. The more games you play the more comfortable I am feeling. “Two debuts in one week was a bit of a mad one so it has been a good week. Once I got the chance to play here I wanted to relax and take my opportunity.”
Arsenal faces Leeds United in the English League Cup at Emirates Stadium in London, England, on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 (10/26/21). Fans can watch the match exclusively with ESPN+. Subscribe to the...
Arsenal and Sunderland also booked their places in the last eight of the competition.