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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Mark Wakefield

National media make new FSG sale claim after Liverpool beat Derby County

Liverpool needed another penalty shootout to claim victory over Derby County in the Carabao Cup.

The Reds progressed to the fourth round of the competition after claiming a 3-2 shootout win over the League One outfit. The match finish goalless after 90 minutes, with another set of spot-kicks needed for Liverpool to claim a win in their first match of the trophy defence.

Caoimhin Kelleher saved three penalties in a shootout to help send the Reds through to the fourth round. Harvey Elliott scored the winning spot-kick, in front of the travelling Derby fans in the Anfield Road stand.

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One highlight from the match was several first-team debuts, including 16-year-old Ben Doak who impressed when coming off the bench. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Darwin Nunez and Elliott all scored their spot-kicks, with Roberto Firmino and Stefan Bajcetic failing to hit the target.

Plenty of national media outlets were in attendance to watch Liverpool win the penalty shootout. Here is a round-up of what they had to say.

Dominic King, via Mail Online

“Could it have been any other way? The first trophy of the Liverpool-Fenway Sports Group Era was the League Cup in 2012, secured via penalties. They won it again in February, again via penalties, so how fitting that another drama from 12 yards was needed to settle a game in this tumultuous week.

“This, with the benefit of hindsight, should not have come as a surprise. Liverpool have not managed to win a League Cup tie in normal time at Anfield since they beat Leeds in November 2016 and it is certainly not in their nature to do things the easy way.

“There was no sign of Liverpool's ownership group in the director's box — they only tend to watch Carabao Cup games in person if their team is in the final — but their presence was all-encompassing, in the form of two towering new stands and a glance at the players on the pitch.

“This has always been the game that Klopp has used to give youth a chance and in the previous 24 ties Liverpool had played in the competition, the manager had used 80 different players, the majority of them being youngsters who were desperate to impress.”

Carl Markham, via The Independent

“Liverpool’s defence of the Carabao Cup began the way it was won with a penalty shoot-out victory in which goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher played a pivotal role.

“The Republic of Ireland international, playing his first game since scoring the winning spot-kick against Chelsea at Wembley in February, saved three Derby penalties as Jurgen Klopp’s untried side scraped past their League One opponents after a goalless draw.

“Harvey Elliott, introduced as a 65th-minute substitute along with Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez, scored the decisive kick as the disappointing hosts won 3-2 in the shoot-out.

“That it had reached that point was perhaps no surprise as Liverpool, who registered 11 changes from Sunday’s win over Tottenham, have not won a League Cup tie in normal time at Anfield since a 2-0 victory over Leeds in November 2016.”

Andy Hunter, via The Guardian

“Caoimhín Kelleher reprised his role as Liverpool’s Carabao Cup saviour as Jürgen Klopp’s team scraped into round four at the expense of League One Derby. The Republic of Ireland international, who scored Liverpool’s 11th and final penalty in the shootout victory over Chelsea in February, made three saves in another penalty shoo-out after a goalless 90 minutes at Anfield.

“Kelleher saved from Conor Hourihane, Craig Forsyth and on-loan Everton striker Lewis Dobbin in the shoot-out after the introduction of several big names from the Liverpool bench had failed to break the deadlock in normal time. 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic and Roberto Firmino failed to convert their penalties for Liverpool, and Darwin Núñez only just did, but Harvey Elliott sealed the holders’ passage with the fifth and final spot-kick.

“The business intentions of Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owner, was in no way a distraction in the third round tie. Liverpool simply lacked the precision to find a way past Wildsmith, although it was not all one-way traffic and Derby had their opportunities to cause an upset against the holders.”

Chris Bascombe, via The Telegraph

“Maybe Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group can add a billion on their valuation with another quadruple bid?

“Liverpool’s Carabao Cup defence began as their last triumph ended with a penalty shoot-out victory, this time pushed all the way by League One Derby County.

“Derby made Jurgen Klopp’s much-changed line-up sweat in a goalless 90 minutes, but ultimately succumbed in the same manner as Chelsea at Wembley last spring.

“Back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher was again the Liverpool hero as Conor Hourihane, Craig Forsyth and Everton loanee Lewis Dobbin had their spot-kicks saved. Harvey Elliot stroked home the winner and Liverpool retained their domestic cup ambitions, even if realists will acknowledge there will be no title bid.

“Klopp had risked much with his starting XI, only Kostas Tsimikas, Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with regular first team experience.

“In another time and place Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gomez would have been preparing for Qatar and all the pre-tournament formalities. You know the drill; musing on what the hotel and training facilities will be like, yearning for the traditional chat with Prince William, and liaising with officials on when it will be most appropriate to discuss human rights violations.

“Alas, there will be no Christmas shopping opportunities in the Middle East malls for the Liverpool duo. Instead, they were on babysitting duties as Liverpool began their defence of the Carabao Cup – the minders in the Anfield creche trying to direct Klopp’s side away from the menace of slightly overweight League One wingers with a propensity to treat a 50-50 challenge like an NFL audition. Yes Derby wide man Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, that means you.”


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