He was a force during the game, putting in commanding performances in the 120 minutes to keep Chelsea out while marshalling a defence of players much older than he is.
Speaking after the game, Kelleher could not hide his excitement. “It’s a mad one,” Kelleher said on Sky Sports. “I got close to a few when it came down to me I didn’t even think I had scored the winning penalty. I’d forgotten I’d got the winning one. All the lads were class, I was just happy to score.
“It was more hit and hope. I got close to a few but all the penalties were very high quality thankfully we were able to win.
“I thought we had scored when we got the disallowed goal but they had a few disallowed so I think a draw was a fair result overall.
“He [Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp] just said ‘well done for scoring the winning penalty, there’s a wall with all the goalkeepers on who have won cups so now you can go on that.’”
Kelleher deserves it, Klopp says
In his own post-match interview, Klopp praised his young goalkeeper while also defending his actions to not start some players.
The German tactician emphasised his belief that “there should be space for some sentiment” in football after rewarding Kelleher with his start.
“Even in professional football there should be space for some sentiment,” Klopp said. “Caoimhin Kelleher is a young boy, plays in all the competition, what do I do?
“I am two things, a professional manager and a human being and the human being won. He deserves it.
“At the training centre we have a wall that all goalkeepers are on who won something and Caoimhin can go on it – that’s how it should be – absolutely great.
“I am happy for the people to celebrate something like this. Chelsea are incredibly strong, we matched each other.
“That is the start, we are not silly. We need to have luck – we had luck, that could have been 5-5.
“I’m fine now but I would have been fine with 90 minutes and 1-0 to Liverpool and we go home. I am happy for the people in dark times to celebrate something like this.
“We have to work hard. We play on Wednesday again, which I cannot believe now. We will give it a try. It is a home game and it will be rocking because of tonight.”
“It’s so nice that it paid off, he deserves it,” the manager said.
“Ali did not play. At the AXA Training Centre, we have a wall at the goalkeeper area, I told him: ‘Great, if we win, we can put Caoimh on it!”
Gary Lineker slams decision to sub off Mendy for Kepa
Gary Lineker took to social media to congratulate The Reds for their triumph over Chelsea in the League Cup final on penalties.
Posting on Twitter after the final whistle, Lineker wrote: “Congratulations to Liverpool on winning the Carabao cup. Cracking game, two top sides, belting penalty shootout.”
However, the former Tottenham striker also questioned Tuchel’s decision to bring on Kepa for the shootout.
Lineker wrote in a separate post: “That must be a first. Bring on a keeper for a penalty shootout and the only player out of 22 to miss is that substitute keeper, Kepa.”