Liverpool FC

Klopp buzzing with Kelleher as Liverpool starlets secure a place in UCL knockouts

A 1-0 victory against Ajax has seen the Reds qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game-in-hand, and remain unbeaten in 15 subsequent fixtures against sides from the Netherlands.

Liverpool welcomed the Dutch champions to Merseyside for the first time since 1966 on Tuesday night, in which they only needed a draw to ensure their place in the next round of Europe’s top-tier tournament.

With Alisson missing through injury, we saw young ‘keeper Caoimhin Kelleher start ahead of Adrian to make his European debut. The 22-year-old did not disappoint – he remained calm and composed, making four superb saves, one being from point-blank range late on.

Curtis Jones found the back of the net in the second-half with his first Champions League goal, after a lovely cross by Neco Williams which caught goalkeeper Andre Onana unawares. The 19-year-old midfielder came the closest to scoring early on in the match too, having two shots on goal in the first ten minutes, with one rattling the post.

We saw the Academy graduates shine on the European stage, as Jones, Kelleher and Williams all demonstrated their potential and ability to play alongside more experienced players.

Klopp came sprinting onto the pitch to congratulate the young ‘keeper once the game finished. Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, he said: “The kids played exceptional, the front three defended like devils from all directions. That’s all so important and the two centre-halves were there when we needed them.

“In the end, we are top of the group after matchday five. We have never been that before, so that’s really good and for us unbelievably good.”

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