Liverpool progressed to the semi-finals of the 2016/17 edition of the EFL Cup after a hard-fought 2-0 win over Leeds United at Anfield on November 29, 2016. The losing finalists of last year’s edition of the Cup ensured their fourth appearance in the semi-final stage of the competition in the last 6 years.
While it was a contest between a team which is currently second in the Premier League and a team in fifth spot in the second division of English football, there was special focus on the fixture between two sides who were once fierce rivals in the top division.
We take a look at the talking points of the game:
#1 Absence of regular stars gave opportunity to other Liverpool players to take centre stage
With injuries to Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge and Jurgen Klopp opting to exclude other regular players from the starting XI and the squad, the game provided a good opportunity for other players to stake a claim for more game time during the hectic festive period and also slot-in in the absence of the injured stars.
But the team’s performance wasn’t anywhere near the standards set by Liverpool in the Premier League and the hosts often seemed to struggle against their opponents from a lower division. Players like Alberto Moreno and Kevin Stewart will know that they should have done more to force themselves into Klopp’s plans.
But the team was lifted by the performances of young Trent Alexander-Arnold (who was adjudicated the Man of the Match) and Ovie Ejaria, goal-scorers Divock Origi and Ben Woodburn (more on them later) and the experienced defensive partnership of Ragnar Klavan and Lucas Leiva as the team did enough to win and progress to the next round.