Liverpool reached the League Cup quarter-finals in thrilling style as their incredible 5-5 draw against Arsenal was followed by a 5-4 penalty shoot-out triumph, while Manchester United won 2-1 at Chelsea on Wednesday. Both Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal boss Unai Emery made 11 changes for the fourth round tie, but the understudies served up one of the most entertaining games of the season at Anfield as the Gunners squandered multiple leads. In the shoot-out, Dani Ceballos’ penalty was saved by 20-year-old Irish keeper Caoimhin Kelleher before Liverpool-born 18-year-old Curtis Jones converted the winning kick.
Liverpool have won the League Cup a record eight times and they remain on course to lift the trophy for the first time since 2012.
“We were too open at times. We can talk about tactics but who cares on a night like this? I hoped for the boys they would have a game to remember,” Klopp said.
“It’s like a dream for them to play for the first time at Anfield. All our goals were wonderful.”
After Granit Xhaka’s astonishing outburst at Arsenal fans during Sunday’s traumatic Premier League draw with Crystal Palace, this was another body blow for Arsenal, who lost despite leading 3-1, 4-2 and then 5-4 with seconds to go.
“A crazy match. At the end we were winning until the last action. Penalties are 50-50 and we lost. We are sad but we deserve more,” Emery said.
With an average age of 23 years and 122 days, it was Liverpool’s youngest starting eleven in any competition since January 2017 as teenagers Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster and Sepp van den Berg all featured.
Liverpool’s rookies went ahead after just six minutes as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sent over a low cross and Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi, sliding in to clear, accidently deflected it onto his knee and into the back of his own net.
Arsenal drew level in the 19th minute via an assist from the rarely used Mesut Ozil, who was making his only his third appearance of the season and his first since September 24.
Ozil picked out Bukayo Saka in space and when his shot was saved, the unmarked Lucas Torreira slotted home.