Liverpool scaled a gargantuan comeback before beating Arsenal 5-4 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
In an all-action first half, Liverpool grabbed the lead early on courtesy an own goal by Shkodran Mustafi. But, Arsenal would go on to grab a two-goal lead after scoring thrice within 15 minutes, with Lucas Torreira levelling things up before Gabriel Martinelli scored a brace. Heading into half-time, though, the Reds had pulled a goal back through James Milner, who converted from the spot.
Arsenal did not take long to restore their two-goal cushion, through Ainsley Maitland-Niles. But, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 4-3 with a stunning long-range strike. Divock Origi then brought the game back on level terms with a superb turn and finish before Joe Willock put Arsenal ahead for the second time with a driven finish.
But, there was time for some late drama as Origi scored the 10th goal of the game with an acrobatic finish. In the shootout, Caoimhin Kelleher saved Dani Ceballos’s penalty before Curtis Jones scored the decisive spot-kick to book Liverpool’s place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men following a captivating contest against Arsenal.
Caoimhin Kelleher: 7/10
A tough night for Kelleher, wherein he was sold short by the defence in front of him. But, he should have done better when saving the original efforts that rebounded for the first two Arsenal goals. Could have done very little to stop the other three goals, but redeemed himself in the shootout when he thwarted Dani Ceballos.
Neco Williams: 7/10
Making his senior debut against Arsenal, Williams cut a confident figure, especially when charging down the right flank. Played a key role in the opening goal, sending Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into clear space just outside the Arsenal box before Shkodran Mustafi scored the own goal.
Troubled at times at the back by Bukayo Saka, but there were positive moments on show as well. The teenager made a direct impact on the game as well, providing the assist for Divock Origi.
Joe Gomez: 5/10
In a much changed Liverpool backline, Gomez was a senior figure. The onus was, therefore, on him to keep the defence organised and make an impression on Klopp. But, the Englishman failed to grab his chance, struggling to keep the defence disciplined enough while also being all over the place on occasion. Does not look like replacing Dejan Lovren in the absence of Joel Matip.
Sepp van den Berg: 5/10
In what was his maiden first-team appearance at Anfield, van den Berg seemed to have been bit by the nervous bug. The young defender was composed on the ball. But, off it, he was all over the shop and was pulled out of position a number of times. A part of his learning curve.
James Milner: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Liverpool’s skipper of the day. There was very little to fault Milner on the ball for much of the game, but he was the culprit when Maitland-Niles scored early in the second half. Troubled by the Arsenal wide man for large parts of the game. Scored a penalty in the first half and then converted from the spot during the shootout, thereby bringing his rating up.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
Oxlade-Chamberlain started the game against his former side in strong fashion, putting in the cross that Mustafi turned into his own net. Thereafter, though, the ex-Arsenal star struggled to make much of an impact until close to the hour mark, when he produced a stunning long range strike, reminiscent of last week’s exploits against Genk, to bring Liverpool back in the game.
Adam Lallana: 6/10
Deployed in the holding midfield role, it was a mixed bag of a performance by Lallana. His trademark deft touches were on display over the course of the game. But, the Englishman, who struggled to keep a track of Mesut Ozil, was also overrun with ease at times by Arsenal. Could not set a high tempo of the game in the first half, but improved post the interval. Scored his penalty.
Naby Keita: 5/10
Two of the midfield spots are very much up for grabs, meaning Keita needed to impress against a tricky Arsenal midfield. But, the Guinean star missed his chance, struggling to impose himself for much of the 55 minutes he was on the pitch. Found himself on the fringes too often and was taken off for Curtis Jones, who was an instant upgrade.
Harvey Elliott: 6/10
Another player who was making his Anfield bow. Elliott was not as impressive on Wednesday as he had been against MK Dons. Did not shy away from driving at the Arsenal defence, but his end product was lacking. One of those culpable when Martinelli scored his second goal, but made amends by winning the penalty that Milner converted late in the first half, although it was a soft call.
Rhian Brewster: 5/10
Much like the performance against MK Dons, Brewster found himself on the periphery. For much of the first half, the young striker was a passenger, although he did put the pressure on Mustafi to pull the trigger for the first goal. Did improve in the second half, but could not do much in way of making an impact. Calm as you like for his penalty.
Divock Origi: 8/10
CLUTCH. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/YHyVr0vqcS
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 30, 2019
A tale of two halves for Origi, who barely got a look-in in the first period. But, upon the turn of the half, the Belgian looked much more purposeful. The turn before his first goal was simply delightful, not to mention the sublime finish.
Then, as the seconds were counting down to an Arsenal win, up stepped Origi once again, producing an acrobatic finish to meet Williams’s cross. Made no mistake in converting his penalty. Such a clutch player for Liverpool.
Curtis Jones: 7/10
On for the underwhelming Keita, Jones was an upgrade on the incumbent. Looked to make the game tick, moving the ball forward quickly, thereby ensuring Liverpool dominated possession. Scored the decisive penalty without much fuss.
Pedro Chirivella: N/A
A late substitution, Chirivella did not have much time to do something of note.