Liverpool substitute Curtis Jones scored the winning penalty to send a youthful Reds side through to the League Cup quarter finals after a crazy 5-5 draw with Arsenal at Anfield.
Both teams made eleven changes from the weekend, and it led to one of the most unpredictable games in recent memory. Gabriel Martinelli netted a first-half brace, while stunning strikes from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Willock stood out. Divock Origi levelled twice, including in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but the game was littered with mistakes.
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Liverpool grabbed the lead after six minutes when former Gunners midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed from the right, only for Shkodran Mustafi to put through his own net.
Just over 10 minutes later, Arsenal were level through Lucas Torreira. The Uruguayan appeared to be offside when he tapped home after some good work by Mesut Ozil and Bukayo Saka, but with no VAR in action, the goal stood.
Torreira was heavily involved as the visitors turned the game on his head. His quick free kick afforded Ainsley Maitland-Niles two chances to cross, and after a scramble, Martinelli was on hand to grab his first of the evening.
The Brazilian then rifled home a third as Arsenal began to cruise. Harvey Elliot’s careless pass was played into Saka’s path by Ozil, and the winger’s layoff put the ball on as plate for Martinelli.
The action didn’t stop there, though; Martinelli was brought to earth with a bang after fouling Elliot in the area. James Milner stepped up to halve the deficit at the break.
If anything, the intensity increased in the second half. Maitland-Niles restored the two-goal lead on 54 minutes after robbing Milner in the box, before Oxlade-Chamberlain rifled in an effort from distance moments later.
Origi made it 4-4 with a powerful effort before Joe Willock unleashed a stunning strike himself. But the Belgian wasn’t to be denied, and he broke Arsenal hearts at the end, before Dani Ceballos’ miss allowed Jones to clinch the 5-4 victory in the shootout.
TALKING POINT – Jones clinches win on a night for heroes
Jones will take the acclaim and it truly is a fantastic story, but in truth the game has so many talking points. Arsenal were superb, as good as they have been since their last win at the Reds seven years ago. Origi came to life after a quiet first half, matching Martinelli’s efforts earlier on the night, but even by Liverpool’s standards, this was incredible. There really is something about Anfield.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Yes, Origi did make the difference in the end. But looking at the game as a whole, Ozil deserves great credit. After being ostracised by Unai Emery, he had a point to prove, and he ran the show until his early withdrawal. Had he stayed on, the result may have been different. Emery certainly has questions to answer in that regard.
Liverpool: Kelleher 6, Williams 5, Gomez 6, Van Den Berg 5, Milner 7, Lallana 5, Keita 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Elliot 7, Origi 7, Brewster 7 Substitutes: Jones 7, Chirivella n/a
Arsenal: Martinez 6, Bellerin 6, Holding 5, Mustafi 4, Kolasinac 5, Torreira 7, Willock 7, Maitland-Niles 7, Ozil 8, Saka 6, Martinelli 8 Substitutes: Guendouzi 6, Ceballos 5, Tierney n/a
7’ - GOAL! Oxlade-Chamberlain breaks down the right and crosses, and Shkodran Mustafi puts through his own net. 1-0 Liverpool.
19’ – GOAL! Torreira equalises for Arsenal. The Gunners combine well through Saka and Martinelli before the midfielder taps home. 1-1.
26’ – GOAL! Arsenal turn it around. Torreira takes a quick free kick to find Maitland-Niles; after two bites at the cherry, he crosses and Martinelli tidies up after a scramble. 1-2.
36’ - GOAL! 3-1 Arsenal, and it is Martinelli again. Harvey Elliot's blind pass is cut out by Ozil, who finds Saka. He crosses for the Brazilian, who rifles home.
42’ – PENALTY! Spot-kick awarded to Liverpool.... wow. Elliot brought down by Martinelli! Milner scores. 3-2.
54’ - GOAL! Maitland-Niles! Milner's error is capitalised on the youngster, and with the help of Ozil, who flicks the ball into position, he scores. 4-2.
58’ - GOAL! WOW! What a hit by Oxlade-Chamberlain. It is 4-3!
63’ – GOAL! 4-4! Origi powers home to equalise. Incredible!
71’ - GOAL! Whatever Oxlade-Chamberlain can do, Willock can do better! What a hit! 5-4!
90’ + 4 – GOAL! ORIGI AGAIN! 5-5!
PENALTY’ - Curtis Jones can win it here. AND DOES!!!! Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties!
Martinell matches Ian Wright by scoring in his first four starts for Arsenal.
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