Liverpool advanced to the last eight of the Carabao Cup after a 2-0 victory over a spirited Preston at Deepdale.
The visitors dominated the ball in the first half, but Preston had all the chances. Adrian made a good save from Brad Potts before the Lilywhites missed three clear chances in under five seconds in one extraordinary spell.
In the second half, Liverpool eventually took control. After excellent work on the right by Neco Williams, Takumi Minamino glanced a finish into the far corner to give the Reds the lead. More good work from Williams then led to a brilliantly improvised finish from Divock Origi to double Liverpool’s lead with six minutes to go.
Opinion: Origi unique skillset makes him Liverpool's Solskjaer
The quarter-finals will be played in the week of December 20, with the draw to take place on Saturday.
TALKING POINT - Have Liverpool got the depth to challenge on multiple fronts?
Their first 11 are enough to disturb the sleep of every other team on the planet; against Preston we had a look at the talent that exists beyond that.
Squad depth is an area where their rivals Manchester City have a decisive advantage, and one of the reasons why Pep Guardiola has been able to deliver multiple trophies in recent seasons. Jurgen Klopp might not go to bed dreaming of landing the EFL Cup, but it could be a useful competition for him to utilise and develop his reserves.
Come the turn of the year, he’ll need them; Mohammad Salah and Sadio Mane have the African Nations Cup to contest in January, so Origi’s form will assume significance, and Klopp will be mindful of the injury crisis that was partly responsible for derailing their title challenge last season. Will his mix of fringe players and rising young talent enable him to aim for more than one of the pots available?
MAN OF THE MATCH – Neco Williams (Liverpool)
He was at the heart of everything for Liverpool. In the first half he cleared a ball off his own line with his face, and in the second his industry created both of Liverpool’s goals. But for a good late save by Declan Rudd he would also have been on the scoresheet.
Preston North End (3-4-1-2): Rudd 7; Lindsay 6, Hughes 6, Cunningham 6; Van den Berg 7, McCann, Ledson 6, Rafferty 7; Potts 5; Barkhuizen 6, Maguire 7 SUBS: Riis 6, Earl 6, Johnson 6, Whiteman 6, Sinclair 6
Liverpool (4-3-3): Adrian 7; Williams 8*, Gomez 6, Matip 6, Tsimikas 7; Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Morton 6, Jones 7; Minamino 5, Origi 7, Blair 6 SUBS: Phillips 6, Bradley 7, Beck 6, Dixon-Bonner 6
25’ GOOD SAVE! Preston win the ball in their own half, and Maguire slides a superb pass through to the onrushing Potts. He's clean through and bearing down on Adrian, but lifts an awkward shot high and to the right which Adrian tips behind for a corner. Potts had to drill that to either bottom corner, surely? What a chance.
28’ THREE CHANCES MISSED! Oh my, Preston should be in front. They split Liverpool open down the right, and it's squared to Maguire for a tap-in. Adrian dives across goal to save it from point-blank range, the follow up is blocked on the line by Williams and it drops to Potts, who spins and shins it over from six yards out. Crikey!
62’ GOAL! Preston North End 0 Liverpool 1 (Minamino 62) Liverpool lead and it was so simple. A long ball over the top finds Williams, who cuts back on himself, and then back to the byline, before crossing to the front post. Minamino, who has had a poor game, makes up for everything by getting a glancing touch to send the ball into the far corner.
84’ GOAL! Preston North End 0 Liverpool 2 (Origi 84) Oh my word, what a finish! A cross from Tsimikas is overcooked, and clangs off the top of the bar. It lands at the feet of Williams, who shuffles and shoots, only to see it blocked. The ball pops up to the edge of the six-yard box; it's behind Origi, who improvises a brilliant flick with his heel to deftly lob the ball over Rudd and into the net! That's superb!
89’ CHANCE! Williams has been superb tonight. He goes clean through on the right of the area, but Rudd races out to smother his shot from point blank range.
- Divock Origi’s goal was his 11th in 15 League Cup appearances.
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Preston North End