Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool’s Carabao Cup hero last season, saved three spot-kicks to ensure the Reds advanced to the last 16 against League One Derby at Anfield on Wednesday.
Liverpool was forced to rely on the man whose penalty gave them the trophy at Wembley in February after failing to find a breakthrough against Derby in a full 90 minutes game, and the magic worked.
Kelleher saved penalties from Conor Hourihane, Craig Forsyth, and, crucially, Lewis Dobbin, allowing Harvey Elliott to slot home the game-winning goal for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
It was a well-deserved victory for the Reds whose owners recently decided to invite offers to discuss a transfer of ownership, as the hosts carried the majority of the attacking threat.
Derby, backed by a boisterous 5,600-strong travelling crowd, fought hard throughout, with skipper Max Bird slicing the visitors’ best chance across the face of Kelleher’s goal at the start of the second half.
Because of the manner of the victory, Liverpool has yet to win a regular-season home game in the competition since 2016. It won’t bother them that much.
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