Michael Owen has told BT Sport (broadcast on 1/12; 22:11) that Caoimhin Kelleher was one of Liverpool’s heroes as the Reds booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s men secured top spot in the group with a 1-0 win over Ajax at Anfield. Curtis Jones scored the decisive goal. But the home side were also given plenty to do at the other end of the pitch.
Kelleher was handed his Champions League debut with Alisson ruled out of the game. And the 22-year-old certainly managed to vindicate Klopp’s decision to hand him a start.
The youngster made a number of outstanding saves, including a sensational stop from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar late on to keep Liverpool in front.
And after watching the Republic of Ireland under-21 international express his delight in his post-match interview, Owen suggested that he deserves all of the plaudits set to come his way.
“It’s just great. You can’t help but smile when you’re watching that interview because it takes you back to when you were young, how much it means to you,” he told BT Sport.
“This is 20-odd years of hopes and dreams to get your chance and not let people down, and actually, to be one of the heroes – because he was tonight. There were three young lads out there and they all contributed to this.”
TBR View: Kelleher must now be Liverpool’s number two
It was a surprise call to see Kelleher get the nod ahead of Adrian. But it is now difficult to see the Spaniard coming back into the side anytime soon.
Kelleher must now be Alisson’s understudy. He has surely earned the chance to get more game-time while the Brazilian is sidelined.
And it should certainly not be too long at all before the youngster gets the chance to make his second Champions League appearance for the Reds.