Liverpool vs Southampton: What did Jurgen Klopp say about Caoimhin Kelleher's form?

Southampton gave a brave fight to Liverpool, particularly in the first half. Hence, the hosts had to rely on their goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher to rescue them.

Caoimhin Kelleher in a file photo; Credit: Twitter@CaoimhinKelleh1
By Karthik Raman | Mar 1, 2024 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

A youthful-looking Liverpool got past Southampton 3-0 in the FA Cup fifth-round tie. The Reds, suffering with multiple injuries to key first-team players, fielded a squad filled with promising young players just like they did at the weekend cup final. Fresh from winning the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea, Liverpool youngsters produced another solid display to get past the Saints 3-0. The final score might seem like a comfortable win but the match was tighter than the scoreline suggests.

Southampton gave a brave fight to Liverpool, particularly in the first half. Hence, the hosts had to rely on their goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher to rescue them just like he did in the final on Sunday. In the end, a brace from Jayden Danns and another from Lewis Koumas settled the game for the Reds. After the FA Cup win, Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on Kelleher. “I love it. Said it before, said it last year, said it two years ago, said it very often actually that he’s an exceptional goalkeeper but goalkeepers need rhythm,” Klopp, quoted on the club’s website, said in his post-match press conference.

Call it the Caoimhin Kelleher games: Jurgen Klopp

He added: “There was the situation in the summer obviously. He’s a confident boy, he knows he can play in other teams but there is Alisson Becker, the No.1. We gave him the Europa League games, I think that makes a real difference because it was Carabao Cup and the Europa League games, I don’t know exactly how many that [is] – 10, 12 already? Then unfortunately Ali got injured, so he had to play and got the rhythm and now you can see what Caoimh is.”

Klopp further stated that if not for Kelleher, they would not have won this FA Cup tie nor the weekend Carabao Cup final. “We had the goal against Fulham, I think, when the two goals he conceded, he looked a bit unlucky. I said after the game and I spoke to the goalie department, Ali as well, that’s a problem of the way we want to be – so, front-footed, step into. When he stepped in, Harry Wilson was there with the toe, ball goes through and everybody says, ‘He’s not a good goalie.’ He’s an exceptional goalie but even they make mistakes from time to time. Thank God he didn’t make one tonight because that kept us in the game – both games. Call it the Caoimhin Kelleher games because without him in that shape and Ali injured, we wouldn’t have won the Carabao Cup and wouldn’t have won tonight. That’s the goalie’s job as well,” he explained.

‘Step by step we found a way into the game’

The manager then shifted his attention to the match, as he explained what he did not like about their early pressing situations. “The first 15 minutes, I don’t know exactly, we were all over the place. We tried to press because the boys know I want them to press, just the timing was horrendous. Southampton used that, Southampton had momentum, Southampton had big chances, Caoimh had to make saves, but step by step we found a way into the game. High press got better, midfield press not that early – for the midfield press I think we needed the half-time more, a little bit of luck and good defending in the last line. That’s fine,” he said.

Klopp added: “Then obviously the goal we scored was nearly in the perfect moment. You need to ask Russell [Martin], the Southampton manager, but I think it felt a little bit like momentum changed. So, they had it, obviously, and we got a little bit of a foot into the game and then we scored this wonderful goal, which was an exceptional finish of Lewis. We could adjust at half-time and then second half, the midfield press was much better, that helped, and we had now the momentum rather than Southampton. We won a lot of high balls and scored wonderful goals. The play was special, where we won the balls was special, everything was then special. Then obviously something like that, as impossible as it seems, can happen.”

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