Daniel Sturridge struck twice as Liverpool overcame Tottenham to reach the EFL Cup quarter-finals and extend their unbeaten run to 10 matches.
The Reds’ striker was an unused substitute in Saturday’s win over West Brom but needed less than 10 minutes to turn in instinctively from six yards.
Jurgen Klopp made 11 changes from the weekend, one more than Mauricio Pochettino, and it was Liverpool who created more in a scrappy affair.
The impressive Divock Origi laid on two clear chances that Sturridge wasted, but the pair combined again for the England striker to be sent clear and slide his second under Michel Vorm’s body.
Spurs – who started with eight players aged 23 or under – were by no means overawed but struggled in attack until Vincent Janssen slammed home a penalty when substitute Erik Lamela was fouled.
Sturridge curled against the bar with the outside of his left foot late on and substitute Danny Ings saw a one-on-one chance saved as Liverpool moved into Wednesday’s draw.
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All eyes on the front men
The latter stages at Anfield saw Pochettino on his knees in frustration as Spurs exerted pressure but wasted opportunities.
In truth, had Sturridge taken his chances the game would have been out of their reach much earlier.
Even so, with 21-year-old Origi and 18-year-old Ovie Ejaria playing either side of him, Sturridge stepped up to perhaps make a case for starting against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
His lack of a league strike this season has prompted questions over his contribution but he showed a clear nose for goal to stab in when 20-year-old Serb Marko Grujic scuffed his effort.
Janssen is also without a league goal since his £17m summer move from AZ Alkmaar, prompting some observers to draw parallels with Roberto Soldado’s struggles at White Hart Lane.
He lacks the pace and movement of Sturridge but his speed in grabbing the ball to take the penalty when Lucas upended Lamela showed a hunger to prove a point.
Pochettino has publicly said he will be patient with a 22-year-old finding his way in England. On this showing, Janssen showed enough to give Spurs’ fans hope.
How did the young faces fare?
Both managers put faith in youth, with 13 players who started the match aged 23 or under. Klopp gave a debut to right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, a player Steven Gerrard has described as “versatile” with “all the attributes you need”.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool): Klopp said he started brightly, bursting forward to take a ball in his stride early on. A rash tackle on Ben Davies earned a yellow card but showed commitment nonetheless.
Marko Grujic (Liverpool): His 6ft 3in frame looked powerful in midfield when carrying the ball and he got forward smartly to create the opener and later pull a shot wide.
Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool): Looked confident on his full debut and was prepared to pass the ball in tricky areas, while looking at ease when called upon to dribble.
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Spurs): On his second start for Spurs, the USA Under-23 international faced the movement of Liverpool’s tricky front three. He stood up to it as well as anyone in a white shirt.
Harry Winks (Spurs): The 20-year-old was neat and tidy in Tottenham’s midfield alongside Eric Dier and looked more at home than Tom Carroll, who is four years his senior.
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Spurs): Since his £9m move from Marseille the winger had had just 70 minutes of first-team football before the trip to Anfield. Up against a full-back who tends to attack better than he defends in Alberto Moreno, he rarely pinned the Spaniard back.
Man of the match – Daniel Sturridge
What the bosses said…
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “The game was what I expected, in a positive way for us. Then, for part of it, we lost concentration and caused our problems by ourselves. Overall, the summary is very positive – a deserved win.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino: “I’m pleased with the performance but not the result. We fought until the end and created chances. It was a great experience and we can take a lot of positives. This will improve our confidence for the future.”
“The young players are very important for our future, to be a better squad.
“I think it was a fantastic opportunity to show their quality and a great experience to capitalise on, to take positive things for the future.”
The stats you need to know…
- Sturridge has now scored 10 times in his past eight League Cup appearances. All four of his goals for Liverpool this season have been in the League Cup.
- Both of Vincent Janssen’s goals for Spurs have been penalties in the League Cup.
- Liverpool are 10 matches unbeaten in all competitions and have won eight games in that run.
- In 14 matches this season, Spurs have only scored twice in a game on four occasions.
Liverpool will come up against their former striker Christian Benteke when they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday for the day’s late kick-off. Tottenham host champions Leicester City earlier in the day.
Match ends, Liverpool 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1.
Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1.
Foul by Josh Onomah (Tottenham Hotspur).
Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Josh Onomah.
Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham Hotspur).
Danny Ings (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur).
Danny Ings (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Alberto Moreno following a corner.
Substitution, Liverpool. Emre Can replaces Marko Grujic because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Marko Grujic (Liverpool) because of an injury.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Michel Vorm.
Attempt saved. Danny Ings (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Danny Ings.
Attempt saved. Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Harry Winks.
Marko Grujic (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Marko Grujic (Liverpool).
Foul by Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur).
Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Shayon Harrison replaces Georges-Kévin Nkoudou.
Danny Ings (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Danny Ings (Liverpool).
Attempt saved. Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Harry Winks.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.
Attempt saved. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Danny Ings.
Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool).
Foul by Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur).
Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Tottenham Hotspur).
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Goal! Liverpool 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1. Vincent Janssen (Tottenham Hotspur) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the centre of the goal.
Penalty Tottenham Hotspur. Erik Lamela draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) after a foul in the penalty area.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37686653