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Liverpool vs Arsenal. Carabao Cup Fourth Round.


Arsenal win 5-4 on penalties.

Liverpool 0-0 Arsenal (4-5 on pens): Joe Willock's spot-kick sends Gunners into quarter-finals

Report and free match highlights as Bernd Leno saves from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson as Arsenal get revenge on Liverpool three days after losing 3-1 at Anfield

Joe Willock and Bernd Leno proved Arsenal's penalty heroes as the Gunners beat Liverpool to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals
Image: Joe Willock and Bernd Leno proved Arsenal's penalty heroes as the Gunners beat Liverpool to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals

Joe Willock proved Arsenal's penalty hero as his spot-kick saw them past Liverpool and into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after a 0-0 draw at Anfield.

Takumi Minamino struck the bar for the hosts on the stroke of half-time with the goal gaping in an opening period which saw Liverpool dominate possession, but Arsenal defended stoutly while occasionally showing their threat on the break.

A revitalised home side improved after half-time and were denied at corners twice by two Bernd Leno saves, first from Virgil van Dijk and then from Marko Grujic, before he was equally alert to keep out Diogo Jota's excellent control and shot.

The Gunners' struggled to turn their pace in attack into clear-cut opportunities with Adrian's stop from Rob Holding's header one of few moments to remember for the Liverpool goalkeeper before the game went to penalties, where Mohamed Elneny, Divock Origi and Harry Wilson missed from 12 yards - leaving Willock to sneak his spot-kick past the Spanish stopper's dive and send Arsenal through to face Manchester City in the last eight.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Adrian (7), Neco Williams (6), Rhys Williams (7), Van Dijk (7), Milner (7), Grujic (7), Jones (6), Wilson (6), Minamino (6), Jota (7), Salah (6).

Subs: Origi (6), Gomez (6), Wijnaldum (6)

Arsenal: Leno (7), Cedric (6), Holding (6), Gabriel (7), Kolasinac (5), Ceballos (7), Willock (7), Xhaka (6), Pepe (7), Nketiah (5), Saka (6).

Subs: Elneny (6), Maitland-Niles (n/a), Lacazette (n/a).

Man of the match: Bernd Leno

Penalties again separate duo in Carabao Cup

There was a sense of deja vu about the whole occasion at Anfield with Liverpool hosting Arsenal for the second time in three days - but whereas Monday night's showdown had been an entertaining 3-1 win for the hosts, a rematch featuring much-changed line-ups from either side rarely got going.

In addition, this was the second season in succession that the two sides had met - at Anfield on both occasions - at this stage in the Carabao Cup, but whereas in 2019/20 the two played out an entertaining 5-5 draw before Liverpool progressed on penalties, Minamino's shot against the bar in the final minute of the opening half was the first time either goal had come under severe danger.

Adrian of Liverpool saves from Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup fourth round match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 01, 2020
Image: Adrian denied Eddie Nketiah early on

Before that, Eddie Nketiah had been guilty of dawdling on a presentable opportunity laid on by Willock, but Adrian capitalised on his hesitancy to push the ball wide before he could be tested, and from a tight angle he blasted well over.

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Minamino should have opened the scoring moments before the break when Jota's header from a deep cross was palmed into this path by Leno. While it came at him at speed, he should have found the back of the net rather than rattling the bar from six yards.

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After the break, things improved, but still lacked the kind of spark games between these two sides have enjoyed in recent times. Van Dijk's deft stab at Grujic's header from a corner pulled the save of the night out of Leno, before the Serbian himself went close with a looping header from another set play which the goalkeeper also dealt with well.

At the other end, Adrian was called into action for the first time when Holding got his head to Nicolas Pepe's excellent delivery, but he should have been given more trouble from the defender's effort than the comfortable save he pulled off at his near post.

Diogo Jota battle for the ball with Rob Holding during Liverpool vs Arsenal
Image: Diogo Jota came close with a second-half chance on his first Liverpool start

Jota brought down an excellent pass from midfield to turn inside Sead Kolasinac and blast straight at Leno as time ran out with both sides feeling penalties looming, and those feelings came to fruition with few chances at either end in the final 10 minutes.

In the shootout, Liverpool drew first blood when Adrian kept out Elneny's poor penalty, before substitute Origi missed in similar style with their next spot-kick.

Eight other perfect penalties then sent the contest to sudden death - where Wilson's decent effort was kept out by a fine Leno save, before Willock's spot-kick snuck under the goalkeeper's dive and in, just as the Gunners snuck through to the quarter-finals after a determined defensive performance.

Carabao Cup draw

What the managers said

Jurgen Klopp says that if there was a team that deserved to win in normal time it should of been his team after Liverpool were beaten on penalties by Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "We lacked goals! So many things are different when you mix it up, in decisive positions especially. I really liked how the boys did it, there were a lot of really good performances, it could have been a Premier League game, it was really good, but we lacked here or there the last pass, there was a big one from Diogo Jota and another big chance in the first half.

On Xherdan Shaqiri's omission: "It's the time of the year when things go on in the background and you have to react to that sometimes and that's what we did."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says that his side controlled the game more than Liverpool and were deserved winners as the Gunners won 5-4 win on penalties in their Carabao Cup tie.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "I was here, waiting, enjoying the victory and now we have to play Manchester City the 22nd or 23rd of December, but it is what it is.

"There are some big teams in the competition and we'll be ready for it. We want to take every competition as an opportunity to win a trophy. We'll go game by game."

Man of the match - Bernd Leno

Arsenal's penalty hero Bernd Leno says he's very pleased to get through to the next round of the Carabao Cup, but would have preferred to have got through without needing to save penalties

As well as keeping Arsenal in the game with a number of strong second-half stops, particularly his alert run and save to keep out Joto as well as a smart reaction denial from Van Dijk's low effort, Leno made two decisive saves in the shoot-out.

As well as saving Origi's spot kick, he also kept out a far better effort from Wilson with an excellent stop down to his right, which ultimately saw the Gunners through to the quarter-finals.

Redknapp's verdict

Jamie Redknapp to Sky Sports:

"Arsenal defensively look a lot more structured, a lot more organised. They're defending for their lives, the goalkeeper was exceptional and he's got them working hard - everyone is buying into what Mikel Arteta wants.

"I've been very impressed with them and it;s going to be a very good game against City. Arteta was smiling about the draw - they're good friends but he'll still want to win!"

Match stats

  • Arsenal have reached the League Cup quarter-final in four of the last five seasons; this was their first penalty shootout victory in the competition since the 2013-14 third round at West Brom.
  • Liverpool have lost four of their last six penalty shootouts in all competitions, including two to Arsenal this season (also in the Community Shield).
  • Arsenal are without a win in 10 visits to Liverpool across all competitions (D4 L6) since a 2-0 victory in the Premier League in September 2012.
  • This was the first goalless draw between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield since August 1998 in the Premier League.
  • Liverpool played out their first goalless draw in the League Cup since October 1992 against Sheffield United, and first at Anfield in the competition since January 1982 versus Barnsley.

What's next?

Premier League

The Carabao Cup quarter-finals take place on December 22/23, with all four ties to be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Liverpool visit Aston Villa in the Premier League on Super Sunday. Coverage starts at 7pm on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event; kick-off 7.15pm.

Arsenal are also on Sky this Super Sunday, with their home clash against Sheffield United live on Sky Sports Main Event from 1pm; kick-off 2pm.

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