A dour encounter saw chances come and go, but a penalty shootout was required to decide who made it into the last 16.
Kelleher was the hero, saving three Derby spot-kicks before boyhood Liverpool fan Harvey Elliott scored the winning effort.
Reds supporters took to social media to hail Kelleher’s contribution and praise the young Reds who took their chance.
The Irishman’s quality in shootouts was rightly lauded…
We have the best and the 2nd best Goal Keepers in the world! #LFC ?
— Karl (@KarlThyer) November 9, 2022
Kelleher is the ultimate cup goalkeeper hahaha convinced we should just play for pens in every tie he features
— barry (@BackseatsmanLFC) November 9, 2022
“We’ve got the best PK stopper in the world.” – Mark Viera on Facebook.
“Sometimes I envy us for having such a great 2nd keeper” – Divock on the forums.
That last Kelleher save was genuinely one of the best penalty saves I’ve ever seen
— ? The Red Debate ? (@TheRedDebate) November 9, 2022
Caoimhín Kelleher has now won more penalty shootouts than any Liverpool goalkeeper in the club's entire history (4).
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) November 9, 2022
22.22% of Caoimhim Kelleher's Liverpool appearances have ended in him winning his team a penalty shootout. Not one hair out of place throughout.
— Steven Scragg (@Scraggy_74) November 9, 2022
And the young Reds showed what they were about
“I thought Bajcetic, Clark and Kelleher were excellent. Ben Doak for his short appearance looks off the scale good. Time the old guard Milner, Ox, Keita moved out and these young ones were brought in. I would love to see them getting a chance than Ox and Keita especially.” – John Gardner on Facebook.
“Doak looks like he’s going to be a special player. He was fearless, always wanted the ball and immediately showed his qualities.” – Atlas2901 on the forums.
Ramsey is the major plus, because he looks physically ready whilst being extremely confident on the ball.
Doak is fearless. Bajcetic promising, but will need time.
Keheller too good as a number 2, so need to appreciate him whilst he’s here.
— Rory Greenfield (@RoryGreenfield) November 9, 2022
Ramsay’s just got it, hasn’t he? Only takes one game to see it with some players.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) November 9, 2022
I absolutely love players who just want to commit defenders, be brave and run at them. Ben Doak only has one thought in his mind every time he gets the ball ?#LIVDER
— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) November 9, 2022
Ben Doak reminds me of Raheem Sterling breaking through.
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) November 9, 2022
It wasn’t a classic at Anfield, but ultimately, Klopp will look back on this as a hugely positive night for his fringe players.
Granted, Klopp may not have been devastated to bow out, given the relentless schedule in 2023, but there is a trophy on offer and competition has opened up.