There were mixed performances in a dramatic and entertaining quarter-final which saw Liverpool go through to the semis on penalties, at the expense of Leicester.
Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (5-4 on pens)
League Cup Quarter-Final, Anfield
December 22, 2021
Goals: Oxlade-Chamberlain 19′, Jota 68′, Minamino 90+5′; Vardy 9′ 13′, Maddison 33′
Caoimhin Kelleher – 8 (out of 10)
Made a brilliant save from Thomas in the shootout and also saved well from Bertrand, playing a vital role as Liverpool progressed.
In the game itself, he made a good save from Daka early on and got a hand to Vardy’s shot for the opener but not enough. Maybe could have used his feet but that goal wasn’t on him at all.
Nice collection from Daka’s deflected effort and a strong save from Vardy even though the striker fouled Morton.
Questions will be asked after he was beaten down the middle from distance by Maddison, but it was one of those hit with power and loop we’ve seen many ‘keepers fail to deal with in the past.
Also made a good save from Dewsbury-Hall on what was a busy night for the Irishman during which he looked comfortable sweeping up.
Rounded it off with those penalty saves in front of the away fans, and didn’t even need any of the gamesmanship shown by his opposite number, Kasper Schmeichel.
Conor Bradley – 6
Had a shot towards the end of the first half, cutting inside onto his left but the strike was fairly easy for Schmeichel in the end.
It was an encouraging sign, but he was unable to build on it as he was subbed at half-time.
Joe Gomez – 6
Gave the ball away leading directly to a Vardy chance but the striker’s shot hit the post and Gomez was able to clear up.
Doesn’t yet appear assertive enough to lead a defence in the absence of other senior players.
Billy Koumetio – 5
Let Vardy get in behind him for the opener.
Displays some really good and varied passing – long switches and low passes into the feet of forwards – but can be complacent on the ball.
Was caught out in the first half leading to a Vardy chance that was eventually sorted by Morton.
He and Gomez didn’t work as a pairing at all, but that wasn’t all the Frenchman’s fault.
Kostas Tsimikas – 7
Some nice work in the buildup to Oxlade-Chamberlain goal and was always on hand to send in a cross.
Couldn’t get back to Vardy for Leicester‘s second. Some sloppy buildup play didn’t help the general feeling of security down the left-hand side of defence, and didn’t help the teenage centre-back alongside him.
Was on hand to deliver some good crosses as usual, and tidied his game up as it went on, as many did.
Gets extra marks for having a go at the linesman when subbed off with 10 to go.
Tyler Morton – 6
Picked up another early booking as was the case against Newcastle, which isn’t ideal in his position against quick forwards and clever midfielders.
Covered very well to thwart Vardy after Koumetio’s error, winning a foul.
Jordan Henderson – 5
Subbed off in the second half having had little impact on the game.
A decent runout having been under the weather recently, which probably played a part in his average display.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8 (Man of the Match)
Was the senior player who tried to drive this young team forward the most. Often this worked, sometimes it didn’t, but the intent was important.
Finished his goal nicely but sent a couple of other shots off target later on.
Was somehow still running with the same intensity in added time. Another impressive shift from the revived English midfielder.
Neco Williams – 7
Played well on the right in a late cameo against Preston, but didn’t look quite as useful in the position tonight.
Looked better later on when dropping to a full-back role, though he didn’t seem any less attacking.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Some nice moments to entertain the crowd and make things stick up front.
Was composed when called up to set up Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Takumi Minamino – 8
A brilliant take and finish to level the scores in injury time in front of the Kop.
Had an early shot wide and blazed over from Firmno’s pass later in the first half.
Improved in the second half once more senior players were on the pitch alongside him, playing a nice ball to set up Firmino, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked.
Got his assist in the end after a really neat touch through to Jota, and got his goal in dramatic fashion.
Hit the bar with his penalty but it didn’t matter.
James Milner (on for Morton, 46′) – 7
Nice ball in to assist the equaliser and offered good support for the players around him in the second half.
Ibrahima Konate (on for Koumetio, 46′) – 8
In the main, he offered composure where Koumetio couldn’t and settled the rest of the team as a result.
There was one shaky moment but his mere presence was too much for Vardy. Maybe he can give Koumetio some pointers.
Diogo Jota (on for Bradley, 46′) – 8
A glanced a header across goal showed his intent, and he was on hand to slot home Minamino’s pass.
Headed Keita’s shot straight at Schmeichel – anywhere else it would have been a goal at that pace.
Netted the winning penalty with calmness and conviction.
Naby Keita (on for Henderson, 59′) – 8
A contender for Man of the Match solely for his nutmeg on Maddison. Seemed to enjoy his second-half cameo, and stepped up as a leader by example.
Owen Beck (on for Tsimikas, 80′) – 6
Some encouraging moments from the promising left-back.
Subs not used: Pitaluga, Quansah, Gordon, Woltman
Jurgen Klopp – 8
It was a much-changed lineup from the German in contrast to Brendan Rodgers, who picked a strong Leicester XI.
Klopp chose to leave Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane out of the squad altogether while Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Thiago were still in isolation following positive Covid tests.
Made three changes at half-time, and all of his subs worked well and the team were all over Leicester once Rodgers switched to a back three.