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Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (5-4 on pens): Magic Reds through to semi-finals

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Liverpool produced a stunning comeback as they drew 3-3 with Leicester in the League Cup quarter-finals, before a 5-4 penalty shootout victory.

Liverpool 3-3 Leicester (5-4 on pens)

League Cup Quarter-Final, Anfield
December 22, 2021

Goals

Vardy 9′
Vardy 13′
Oxlade-Chamberlain 19′ (assist – Firmino)
Maddison 33′
Jota 68′ (assist – Minamino)
Minamino 90+5′ (assist – Milner)


A Liverpool side featuring 10 changes from the weekend’s draw at Spurs against a suspiciously strong Leicester lineup, it was teed up as a tough cup tie for the Reds.

That was reinforced with two Jamie Vardy goals in the first 13 minutes, the veteran striker twice exploiting Jurgen Klopp‘s back line for pace, as full debutant Billy Koumetio struggled.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores his side's first goal to level the score at 1-1 during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The hosts improved as the half wore on, particularly with their pressing play and the silky work of Roberto Firmino, and they grabbed one back in the 19th minute as the No. 9 laid it on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Firmino looked to play architect again soon after, but Takumi Minamino was unable to make the most of his chance, before James Maddison fired a stunning strike beyond Caoimhin Kelleher for 3-1.

It could have been worse for the Reds, too, with Vardy again breaking through only to hit the post in a let-off for Liverpool.

HT: Liverpool 1-3 Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson is replaced by substitute Naby Keita during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was no room for sentiment from Klopp at the break, with a ruthless cull of youth taking place as Koumetio, Conor Bradley and Tyler Morton all made way for Ibrahima Konate, James Milner and Diogo Jota.

It brought an uptake in pace and ferocity from the Reds, though Kelleher was required to produce a big save early on in the second half as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall cut onto his right.

Firmino and Oxlade-Chamberlain ran the show in the middle, and some bright interplay between the two was soon followed by a chance crafted by Kostas Tsimikas and almost diverted on goal by Jota.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota scores his side's second goal during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The quality and persistence paid off eventually, however, with Jota and Firmino bundling the ball into a dangerous area, before Minamino faded a pass for the No. 20 to grab one back.

Anfield roared every touch on, with Leicester‘s approach riling up the home crowd, and Liverpool pushed for the equaliser to reward them as Neco Williams fired into the side-netting.

Jota almost scored another with a stunning instinctive header as Naby Keita lined one up from range, only for Kasper Schmeichel to match it with a strong point-blank stop.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Liverpool's Takumi Minamino scores the third goal to level the score at 3-3 in the 96th minute during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The equaliser came with less than two minutes of stoppage time to play, and it was Minamino who proved the decider, touching down James Milner‘s lofted ball and firing past Schmeichel to set up a penalty shootout.

Kelleher was the hero, then, as he dived the right way to deny Luke Thomas and Ryan Bertrand and send Liverpool through to the semi-finals.


TIA Man of the Match: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Referee: Andy Madley

Liverpool: Kelleher; Bradley (Milner 46′), Gomez, Koumetio (Konate 46′), Tsimikas (Beck 79′); Morton (Jota 46′), Henderson (Keita 59′), Oxlade-Chamberlain; Williams, Minamino, Firmino

Subs not used: Pitaluga, Quansah, Gordon, Woltman

Leicester: Schmeichel; Ricardo (Albrighton 42′), Ndidi, Soyuncu (Vestergaard 60′), Thomas; Tielemans, Soumare, Dewsbury-Hall (Bertrand 60′), Maddison; Daka (Iheanacho 55′), Vardy

Subs not used: Stolarczyk, Nelson, Mendy, Lookman, Perez

Next match: Leeds (H) – Premier League – Sunday, December 26, 12.30pm (GMT)

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