Liverpool defeated a tenacious Leicester City squad at Anfield on Wednesday night, rallying from a goal down to advance to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup for the seventh consecutive season.
In the end, Dominik Szoboszlai’s powerful goal separated the two teams after Leicester had grabbed an unexpected early lead thanks to Kasey McAteer. After the break, Cody Gakpo quickly restored the goal balance, and Diogo Jota added a late goal for Liverpool.
When McAteer unexpectedly handed Leicester the lead in the first minutes, Liverpool was taken off guard. When Kostas Tsimikas lost control, the Foxes were penalised, and Yunus Akgun put the goal scorer through for a one-on-one match with Caoimhin Kelleher.
The first half was a one-way street as the highly rotated home team attempted to get back into the match by pelting the Leicester goal with several shots. In a flurry of corner opportunities, younger players Jarell Quansah and Ben Doak had shots blocked before Doak also hit the crossbar. Then, Conor Coady was right in the middle of it, clearing a player off the line to defend his old team.
In the first 45 minutes, Gakpo had a couple of shots stopped, but eventually, Liverpool didn’t exert enough pressure on Leicester goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk despite their domination.
After the break, the Reds needed a few minutes of shooting in the direction of the opponent’s net to get back on equal footing. The double Dutch combination was used when Ryan Gravenberch was able to get the ball to Gakpo, who twisted and shot low into the bottom corner, giving Stolarczyk a chance.
The Leicester goal was having a lucky day as the game approached the hour mark thanks to a Gakpo header that rebounded off the crossbar, onto the line, and out.
With less than 30 minutes left, Jurgen Klopp, who was looking for a victory, showed off the depth of his team by substituting £145 million duo Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez. The former was the one who made a significant difference almost right away. From Leicester’s perspective, he was given too much room and released an incredible screamer that nearly shattered the goal when it hit.
When replacement Abdul Fatawu seemed to be upended in the box, the Foxes asked for a penalty late in the game. However, because VAR wasn’t available in this tournament until later in the process, there was no way to have a second look at the decision since it wasn’t made in real-time. Just a few seconds later, fellow substitute Wilfred Ndidi made a similar attempt to weave in the centre, but Stefan Bajcetic managed to get a toe on the ball just in time to block the next chance.
Late in the game, Quansah chased down a wide ball and surged into the box. Jota’s heel casually glanced Quansah’s pass into the goal, giving Liverpool more assurance of the victory. Even though there was still plenty of time, Harvey Elliott’s attempt that was going straight for the goal was stopped by Coady on the line.