Two familiar League Cup scorers found the back of the net to salvage a dull night for Liverpool, securing a 2-0 win at Preston and a place in the quarter-finals.
Preston 0-2 Liverpool
League Cup Fourth Round, Deepdale
October 27, 2021
Minamino 62′ (assist – Williams)
Origi 84′ (assist – Williams)
There were 20 changes made between the two starting lineups at a very wet Deepdale – 11 for Liverpool, including two full debuts, nine for Preston – and it showed in a slow start to the tie.
That was largely due to Preston’s negative approach, with manager Frankie McEvoy setting his side up in a 5-4-1 with only Tom Barkhuizen regularly in the Reds’ half, conceding possession to their visitors.
Liverpool began to show signs of complacency, particularly captain Joe Gomez, as Preston burst through for two quickfire opportunities, the latter seeing two efforts blocked before a third was blazed over the bar.
With the referee blowing for half-time a second before the allotted 45 minutes was up, those watching at home and in the stands may have barely noticed.
Liverpool had a big chance two minutes after the restart, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s brilliant clipped ball finding Minamino in the box, only for the No. 18 to miss it entirely.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was a bright spark for the Reds, flashing wide with a long-range effort, with Blair replaced by Conor Bradley soon after to end a debut in which he struggled to impose himself.
That released Neco Williams to play on the right wing, and driving onto a stunning Tyler Morton pass he found space and crossed for Minamino to make it 1-0 with an improvised finish.
Then a moment of ridiculous ingenuity from Divock Origi sealed the win, lifting it over a helpless Declan Rudd with his backheel after a Williams cross – Pep Lijnders didn’t call him “one of the world’s best finishers” for nothing!
TIA Man of the Match: Neco Williams
Referee: David Coote
Preston: Rudd; Hughes, Van den Berg, Lindsay, Cunningham (Earl 69′); McCann (Johnson 78′), Rafferty, Ledson (Whiteman 79′), Potts; Maguire (Sinclair 79′), Barkhuizen (Riis 63′)
Subs not used: Iversen, Bauer, Huntington, Storey
Liverpool: Adrian; Williams, Matip (Phillips 46′), Gomez, Tsimikas; Morton, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Beck 90+1′), Jones (Dixon-Bonner 90+1′); Blair (Bradley 55′), Minamino, Origi
Subs not used: Hughes, Pitaluga, Konate, Jota, Firmino