Carabao Cup fourth round
Liverpool 5 Arsenal 5 (Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties)
The Carabao Cup produced a football classic on Wednesday night as Liverpool and Arsenal fought out a ten-goal thriller at Anfield.
In the end it went to penalties and the Merseysiders edged out the Gunners thanks to a brilliant save from Caoimhín Kelleher that denied Dani Ceballos’s spot kick.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper Kelleher was one of several youngsters who won’t forget 30 October, 2019 in a hurry.
On both sides it was a night when youngsters came of age: from Kelleher and 18-year-old Curtis Jones, who kept his nerve to strike the winning penalty, to Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock, who scored three goals between them for Arsenal.
Willock’s was arguably the best of the ten, a sensational curling thunderbolt that restored the lead for the visitors on 70 minutes.
Arsenal held on to their 5-4 lead until the fourth minute of stoppage time when Divock Origi volleyed the ball into the net to take the tie to penalties. It was a suitably jaw-dropping end to a madcap match that showcased the best and the worst of both sides.
Thrills and spills
The defences were questionable at times – Shkodran Mustafi’s own goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 lead on six minutes and Arsenal were able to then score two quick goals from their opponents’ mistakes.
But some of the attacking football was out of this world on a night when Liverpool conceded five goals at home for only the second time in more than half a century. The other occasion was a 6-3 defeat in the League Cup in January 2007, also against the Gunners.
Hero and villain
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil pulling the creative strings for their respective teams, the action was end to end as Arsenal made it 3-1 with a second goal from Martinelli.
Liverpool pulled one back two minutes before the break with a penalty from James Milner, but the Reds captain then gifted Maitland-Niles a goal ten minutes into the second half.
At 4-2 down, Liverpool fans feared they were on course for their first home defeat since Chelsea beat them in the same competition 13 months ago, but two sumptuous goals brought the hosts level at 4-4. The first was a fizzing strike from Oxlade-Chamberlain and the second a beautiful turn and shot from Origi.
Willock then unleashed his moment of magic before Origi volleyed in the equaliser on 94 minutes to make it 5-5.
The last word went to Liverpool on a night best summed up by Kelleher: “It was a crazy game to be a keeper, I didn’t have time to blink.”
Klopp’s warning over fixture clash
Liverpool have been drawn away to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, but boss Jurgen Klopp has warned that the club will not be able to play the fixture unless it is rearranged.
The quarter-final clash between Villa and Liverpool is scheduled for the week commencing 16 December, but the European champions play in the Club World Cup in Qatar on 18 December.
Klopp said: “If they don’t find a place for us, an appropriate place, not 3am on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it. You have to think about these things. If you have a fixture list where one team cannot be part of all the games, then you have to think about it. Hopefully it starts at one point, hopefully it starts now.
“We will not be the victim of this problem. We played [on Wednesday] and we wanted to win. If they don’t find a proper date for us then we cannot play the next round and whoever is our opponent will go through – or Arsenal will play it. I cannot change that.”
The English Football League has told the BBC they are in talks with Liverpool to find an alternative date for the tie with Villa.
Carabao Cup quarter-final draw
- Oxford United vs. Manchester City
- Manchester United vs. Colchester United
- Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
- Everton vs. Leicester
Reactions to the game of the season
Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher
“It’s what dreams are made of, winning a shoot-out in front of the Kop. The atmosphere was amazing, I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Arsenal captain Hector Bellerin
“This is football. This is what you play football for, for nights like this, whatever the score. Today we’re gutted, but I’m sure there’s going to be nights that go in our favour.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
“I don’t know when I last had so much fun in a football game. I enjoyed pretty much each second of the game.”
Arsenal manager Unai Emery
“Defensively, both teams cannot be happy with that. But for the supporters it was an amazing 90 minutes. The result was always changing. It was spectacular.”
Liverpool goalscorer Divock Origi
“It must have been very exciting to watch from the outside. I think even I’ll watch it again.”
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil
“Crazy and incredible match. Losing on penalties is always tough, but definitely some positive things to take away from Anfield.”
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher
“What a game! Lots of mistakes & great goals!! A game were young players on both sides carried the senior ones.”