Liverpool booked their place in the Carabao Cup quarter finals after a 5-4 penalty shootout win settled their spectacular ten goal thriller with Arsenal.
Young Irish goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saved Dani Ceballos’ spot kick — the only penalty missed in the shootout — and this gave fellow academy graduate Curtis Jones the opportunity to win the shootout with the final Reds penalty. The 19 year old Scouser, cool as a breeze, slotted low into the left corner past Emilliano Martinez to see the Kop erupt.
Arsenal, who named a relatively more experienced team than the hosts, thought they had won it late on through a sensational Joe Willock strike. But Jurgen Klopp’s men, recovering the lead for the second time in the game, rescued the draw and ensured penalties when Divock Origi completed his brace with an acrobatic finish in the fourth minute of added time.
The young Reds started the deluge of goals in the fifth minute when Shkodran Mustafi clumsily deflected the ball past his own keeper. Debutant right back Neco Williams clever pass released Alex Oxlade Chamberlain in the right hand channel and the cross — intended for Rhian Brewster — was stabbed into his own net by the German.
To the credit, the Gunners recovered well and 3 quickfire goals — from Lucas Torreira, which appeared offside, and a double from Gabriel Martinelli — saw them claim a 3-1 lead.
Continuing the madcap flow of goals was James Milner — who started the night playing left back — who calmly stroked home a penalty after Harvey Elliott, the youngest player to ever start a game for Liverpool at Anfield, was upended in the box by Martinelli.
The second half followed a similar goal laden pattern, when Mesut Ozil brilliantly and opportunistically assisted Ainsley Maitland Niles with a back heel after a slack back pass from Milner put Unai Emery’s team through on goal.
Against his former club, Oxlade Chamberlain would score the first of three consecutive long range strikes as he powerfully smacked a volley past Martinez. 4-3 soon became 4-4 when substitute Jones ball found Origi just outside the box and Belgian shrugged off would be challenges before smashing a shot into the right hand corner. Martinez, the Argentinian, got a hand to it but the power of the shot was too much to prevent the goal being tied.
Willock, in even more spectacular fashion, followed suit soon after and appeared to win it for Arsenal when his brilliant outside the box strike made the score 5-4 to the visitors.
However, with time running out, the impressive Williams’ cross found Origi and the forward wrote himself into Kop lore with a spectacular scissor kicked equaliser.
Penalties awaited and Milner, Lallana, Brewster, Origi and Jones netted confidently for the Reds. Kelleher, the second Liverpool goalkeeper this season — after Adrian in the Super Cup final in Turkey — to win a penalty shootout guessed the right way and saved Ceballos well hit penalty to send the eight times winners into the quarter finals.
Liverpool team: Kelleher, Williams, Gomez, Van den Berg, Milner; Lallana, Keita, Oxlade Chamberlain; Brewster, Origi, Elliott.
Substitutions: Chirivella for Oxlade Chamberlain, Jones for Keita.
Subs not used: Adrian, Koumetio, Kane, Clarkson, Larouci.