The EFL Cup fourth round began on Tuesday night as the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham were all looking to nook their place in the quarter-finals.
The tie of the night saw Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, where Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino made a combined 21 changes from their sides’ league games last weekend. Nonetheless, the strength in depth was evident as there were a number of internationals still on show on both teams.
Liverpool took the lead within the first ten minutes and Daniel Sturridge latched on to a deflected shot from Marko Grujic effort to put the home side in front. They doubled their lead just after the hour mark as Sturridge added a second goal to his tally, slotting home after a fine pass from Georginio Wijnaldum.
Tottenham were given a lifeline with fifteen minutes remaining as Vincent Janssen drove home a penalty, awarded due to a clumsy tackle from Lucas on Erik Lamela.
However, Liverpool held out and march on the last eight with a 2-1 win.
At the Emirates, an understrength Arsenal kept up their unbeaten run with a solid 2-0 win at home to Reading. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his fourth and fifth goals of the season (which is now already his best ever haul for a season) as Arsene Wenger’s side booked their place in the quarter-final for the first time since 2012.
At St. James’ Park, Rafa Benítez’s Newcastle United tore through Preston North End 6-0. The gulf in class was evident throughout as the Magpies showed the sort of form that suggests they won’t be in the Championship for long.
Alexander Mitrovic opened the scoring after twenty minutes, with Mohamed Diamé doubling the lead seven minutes before half time. Both players added to their personal goal tally in the second half, with Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez also finding the net in a comprehensive victory.
Hull City were able to forget about their poor league form with a 2-1 win at Bristol City. Harry Maguire scored just before half time, and Michael Dawson just after, to put Mike Phelan’s side in a relatively commanding position for the final stages of the match – even accounting for Lee Tomlin’s late consolation.
However, the most dramatic tie of the night came at Elland Road, where Leeds United continued their revival with a penalty shootout victory against fellow Championship side Norwich City. Alex Pritchard put the away side ahead after fifteen minutes somewhat against the run of play, with Marcus Antonsson equalising just before half time.
Ten minutes into extra time, Nelson Oliveira restored Norwich’s lead, only for Chris Wood to peg them back to 2-2 four minutes later. Garry Monk’s side went on to win the shootout 3-2 to reach the quarter finals for just the second time in two decades.
The round of EFL Cup fourth round fixtures concludes on Wednesday night as Southampton take on Sunderland, West Ham host Chelsea, while Pep Guardiola does battle with José Mourinho once again as Manchester City travel to Manchester United.