Kepa Arrizabalaga’s penalty miss for Chelsea against Liverpool in yesterday’s Carabao Cup final may have been due to the Blues goalkeeper being “scared” by his opposite number Caoimhin Kelleher.
That’s according to pundit Garth Crooks, who praised Kelleher’s superb performance at Wembley by naming him in his team of the week in his latest BBC column.
The young Irish shot-stopper put in a fine performance to keep a clean sheet after 120 minutes, and then scored the winning penalty before Kepa blazed his effort over the bar to give the Reds the trophy.
“I must say, whenever I’ve seen Caoimhin Kelleher play in goal for Liverpool he looks totally unflappable,” Crooks said.
“He goes about his job as if saving goals is the least important thing on his mind and yet I can’t ever remember seeing the Republic of Ireland international let Liverpool down.
“The Carabao Cup final is like any final, full of tension and anxiety, but for Kelleher it seemed like a training session. I’m sure it wasn’t but throughout this brilliant football match Kelleher didn’t only keep his nerve but actually won Liverpool the match. I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like it.
“A goalkeeper taking the final penalty in a shootout and burying it so comprehensively in the back of the net must have scared the living daylights out of Kepa Arrizabalaga because he missed his.”
Liverpool ended up winning 11-10 on penalties, with Kepa having a bit of a nightmare as he was brought on by Thomas Tuchel especially for the shoot-out, only to fail to save a single one of Liverpool’s efforts and then missing his own.