Arsenal on Thursday edged past English champions Liverpool in the pre-quarters of the League Cup on penalties. After the match ended at 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, Mikel Arteta’s men won 5-4 in shootout.
While Mohamed Elneny missed the third spot-kick, Alexandre Lacazette, Cedric Soares, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nicolas Pepe all netted for Arsenal, who had already beaten Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield earlier this year.
Joe Willock scored the winning penalty for the Gunners after keeper Bernd Leno had denied Divock Origi and Harry Wilson from the 12 yards spot.
Leno, who proved to be the towering difference between both the teams, earned praises from his manager.
“Bernd Leno was really good. When we needed him we had him. You need a top individual performance to win at Anfield,” Arteta said after the match as quoted by AFP.
“I really have belief in Bernd. I know him really well. We didn’t want Emiliano Martinez to go but it was probably the right thing.
“To come here and play with the determination and courage is a big step forward for the team. They are on the right path,” the former Arsenal captain added.
With Thursday’s win, Arsenal, who haven’t been crowned the League Cup champions since 1993, have now won three of their last four meetings with Liverpool in the space of just 11 weeks.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, meanwhile, had defeated Arsenal 3-1 in Premier League at Anfield earlier this week. Thus it was a sweet revenge for the London side to take within a span of three days.
Even though Liverpool were the better attacking team with more ball possession and greater number of shots on target, Arsenal’s disciplined defence and determined counter-attacks proved that they were heading in the right direction under Arteta.
Both the teams had made a string of changes into their starting line-up with Arteta bringing in eight new faces, while Klopp gave start to eight different players.
“If there would have been a winner in 90 minutes it should have been us but we are not in dreamland, you have to score. A penalty shoot out is tricky, everyone knows it,” the Liverpool manager said at the end.
Arsenal will next face Manchester City in the quarterfinals.
In the other fourth-round encounters of the day, Stoke City claimed a surprise 1-0 win over Aston Villa, while Brentford shocked Fulham with a 3-0 victory to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.