Arsenal go out of League Cup in Anfield penalties drama
Classic tie ends 5-5 before home side squeeze through on spotkicks
30 October, 2019 — By Steve Barnett
Lucas Torreira was among Arsenal’s scorers at Anfield
ARSENAL were knocked out of the League Cup in sensational fashion last night (Wednesday) following a topsy-turvy, trick and treat thriller away at Liverpool.
A cup classic at Anfield finished 5-5 – producing five goals in each half, including a penalty, an own-goal, and even a last-gasp equaliser.
In the end it took just one poor penalty to settle the tie as Caoimhin Kelleher saved Dani Ceballos’s spot kick to seal a 5-4 shootout win.
Before kick-off all the talk centred around Gunners captain Granit Xhaka, who was left out following the spat with his own fans on Sunday.
But any hopes that Arsenal boss Unai Emery had of using the League Cup to divert attentions away from the matter weren’t helped when another player regularly criticised by his own supporters gifted Liverpool the lead: Shkodran Mustafi took part in his own horror story by diverting the ball into his own goal via his foot and his knee.
Lucas Torreira, the man many fans want to replace Xhaka in the starting line-up, benefitted from VAR not being used in this competition as he slotted the ball home from close range, albeit from an offside position, for 1-1.
Gabriel Martinelli then stole centre stage with two goals in 10 minutes as the Gunners raced into a 3-1 lead to seemingly take control of the match.
However, the young Brazilian striker proved that he’s better in his opponents’ penalty box than his own just before half time when he caught Harvey Elliott to give away a penalty that was confidently converted by James Milner.
Then came a goal that summed up the game. Milner provided the horror as his loose back pass presented the ball to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who just knocked it wide of goalkeeper Kelleher. The ball was running out for a goal-kick until Mesut Ozil, suddenly brought in from the wilderness by Emery, supplied the trick, brilliantly backheeling a pass back into the path of Maitland-Niles, who finished with aplomb.
Then came a goal of the game competition. Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed a shot into the roof of the net from all off 25-yards. Divock Origi then entered his contender with a swivelling, spinning effort that tied the score at 4-4.
Joe Willock, however, topped them all as he raced towards goal before unleashing a curler into the top corner that looked to have won Arsenal the game. That was until Origi grabbed his second of the game with a 94th-minute scissor kick that sent the tie to penalties