At the end of the day, Jürgen Klopp does not care about the Carabao Cup.
It was surprising to see the German field stars in Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah for the last 16 tie against Arsenal on Thursday night, but the fact that both were withdrawn with the scores level did suggest that the Premier League remains the German’s domestic priority.
Liverpool probably should have won the tie in 90 minutes. Adrián closed down Eddie Nketiah to deny the visitors an early goal, but that was Mikel Arteta’s side’s greatest chance of the evening.
The hosts, by contrast, came into the game, and failed to open the scoring from a series of chances in first-half stoppage time.
The second-half was better yet from Liverpool. Bernd Leno kept the sides level. But, the opportunities dried up, and the game reached its conclusion, with the resulting penalty shootout seeing Arteta’s Arsenal emerge victorious against Liverpool for the second time in as many months.
Your ratings, as Liverpool depart from the Carabao Cup:
Adrián 7 – Did very well to deny Nketiah early on. Decent shoot-out performance until Willock’s winner disappointingly crept under the Spaniard.Embed from Getty Images
Neco 6.5 – Occasionally over-complicated when on the ball, but a much improved performance from last week.
Rhys 7.5 – Impressive again from the young Red. This week he didn’t switch off after Virgil’s departure.
Big Virg 7 – Little defensive work to do, almost diverted a header goalwards before being replaced.
Milly 5.5 – While it may not be the veteran’s fault that he is not left-footed, it is just painful watching attacking opportunities die every single time that he needs to cut back inside onto his stronger right.
CJ 6.5 – Less instrumental than against Lincoln. Still showed some neat touches, but drifted out of the game more often. A cracking penalty, though.
Marko 8 – Liverpool’s standout player on the night, dominating aerial battles both offensively and defensively. Liverpool could do worse than to keep the Serbian.
Hazza 6 – Good on the ball, but failed to engage in the midfield battle as much as is necessary for a Jürgen Klopp player. Sad that his final touch as a Liverpool player will likely be the penalty miss.
Mo 6 – Too quiet for someone of his quality, even if the first-half service was underwhelming.Embed from Getty Images
Taki 6.5 – Movement very good, at times, but first-half effort that found the crossbar should have been the deciding goal.
Diogo 7 – Quiet first half an hour, but grew into the game, testing Leno twice. It was surprising to see the Portuguese subbed.
JoGo 7 – Stepped into Virgil’s shoes flawlessly.
Divvy 6 – Didn’t show enough in-game and then flashed a poor penalty.
Gini 6.5 – One great pass down the left flank, and a brilliant spot kick.
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