Liverpool will face Arsenal in the fourth round of the League Cup, after emerging 2-0 victors away at MK Dons.
The League One side were spirited, and should have opened the scoring after a Dejan Lovren error. However, Liverpool responded strongly and could have scored long before a goalkeeping error gave James Milner the game’s first.
Nevertheless, a young Reds side never looked that comfortable dealing with the Dons’ counter-attack and Ki-Jana Hoever’s headed second came with the tie still very much in the balance.
That was to be the final goal of the match, and Jürgen Klopp will take some positives from his much-rotated side’s display. As for the individual performances, here’s how they rated.
But first, here’s a reminder of my rating system.
Kelleher 6.5 – Good with his feet and made one incredible save with his thigh, but was a mess when dealing with high balls.
Hoever 6.5 – Looked uncomfortable on the ball, even though he got forward well to score a good header.
Gomez 7 – Physical superiority allowed him to win a number of loose balls, although he never dominated the defensive line as much as you would want him to moving forward.
Lovren 5.5 – One calamitous error should have given the League One side the lead. Made one big recovery tackle, but that was only necessary after the Croat had played an MK Dons striker onside.
Milner 8 – Superb offensively. Did brilliantly down the left before Elliott hit the bar, and then his well-struck effort somehow found its way home to open the scoring. Also found young Hoever, who sealed the three points. Man of the match.
Oxlade-Chamberlain 6 – Didn’t impose himself enough considering his quality, despite hitting the post from thirty yards.
Lallana 6 – Some tidy turns can’t disguise the fact that Lallana offered absolutely no defensive protection in the holding-midfield role.
Keita 6.5 – Probably the best of Liverpool’s starting and senior midfield three, but still didn’t set the world alight.
Elliott 8 – Found the woodwork twice: once when he should have put Milner’s cross away, and another when the crossbar denied a great effort coming in from the left. Exceptional ball control, particularly before he delivered a ball to Milner at the back post.
Brewster 6 – Lacked finesse with his touch, even if his work-rate up top was impressive.
Jones 7 – A constant menace and tested a few snapshots. Less threatening than Elliott, though.
Chirivella 6.5 – Still at the club, apparently.
Kane N/A – Nice opportunity for a quick debut. Best player called ‘H. Kane’ in the Premier League, no debate.
Van Den Berg N/A – Also earned a debut, if only for injury time.