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Jones and Kelleher make history in Ajax win

Curtis Jones and Caoimhín Kelleher make history as Liverpool secure UCL Round of 16 berth

December 1, 2020 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Liverpool youngsters stole the spotlight as the Reds progressed to the knockout stage of the European competition.

Liverpool starlets Curtis Jones and Caoimhín Kelleher have received plaudits for their impressive performances in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League win over Ajax. The pair successfully landed respective milestones as the Reds booked their ticket to the Round of 16 stage of the competition via the night's 1-0 victory.

Ahead of the encounter, the Merseysiders were forced to make a last-ditch change with first choice goalkeeper Allison Becker joining other stars on the club's long injury list by pulling a hamstring. It was later confirmed that he was rested as a precaution with the Reds set to take on Wolves in a crunchy Premier League fixture over the weekend.

As a replacement, the Merseysiders were supposed to call up his deputy Adrian but Jurgen Klopp discarded the idea and rather placed the mandate into the hands of inexperienced Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher. In retrospect, the Liverpool academy graduate repaid his manager's faith in him by denying Ajax any chance to find the back of the net, pulling off his best save in the game close to the very end of proceedings.

This was after Curtis Jones had put Liverpool a goal ahead in the second half to become the third youngest goalscorer for the club in the Champions League after David N'Gog and Trent Alexander-Arnold. The midfielder achieved the feat at the age of 19 years and 306 days while his predecessors attained it at the ages of 19 years, 252 days and 19 years 10 days, respectively.

For Kelleher, his performance earned him a huge bear hug from Jurgen Klopp at full-time with the Irishman finishing the night with four saves and a cleansheet. Consequently, he became the he first Liverpool goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet on his Champions League debut in over 18 years and the first-ever to do so after in the competition after Chris Kirkland in 2002 against Galatasaray.

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