Liverpool vs Arsenal result: Prodigy Curtis Jones settles Carabao Cup epic in game that had it all

Divock Origi struck late to force penalties with Jones striking the winning kick after Caoimhin Kelleher denied Dani Ceballos 

Klopp says Fabinho 'needed time' to adapt to Liverpool team

This meeting between two of English football’s most illustrious clubs often resembled a playground kickabout in more ways than one. Once all was said and done, two youthful Liverpool and Arsenal teams had treated Anfield to 10 goals, five-a-piece; some were sublime, others ridiculous, but all nothing if not entertaining.

Joe Willock’s 70th-minute strike – a brilliant, curling effort from 25 yards - fell into the former category and worthy of deciding such an entertaining spectacle but Divock Origi had other ideas. In the fourth-minute of five added-on, his overhead kick into the Kop end resulted in a penalty shoot-out.

Liverpool ultimately progressed to the League Cup quarter-finals thanks to a faultless record from the spot – completed by local prodigy Curtis Jones - and a crucial save by Cork-born goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher. A Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, his decisive stop from Dani Ceballos will surely be the highlight of his Anfield career.

Both managers made wholesale changes – 11 each, in fact – with Klopp naming his youngest starting line-up in nearly three years and it was one of Liverpool’s four teenagers that had a telling hand in the opening goal after only five minutes.

Rhian Brewster’s presence in the six-yard box forced Mustafi to approach Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross awkwardly. The defender – the only Arsenal player who could potentially lose to Xhaka in a popularity contest – misjudged the path of the ball, which deflected in off his trailing leg as he attempted a sliding clearance.

The standard of defending for evening ahead had been set. And if the exuberance of youth had helped Liverpool at one end, the attendant naivety and inexperience hindered them at the other. Arsenal equalised, took the lead and then doubled it in the space of 17 minutes.

Lucas Torreira’s first looked offside, in fairness, but Liverpool had several opportunities to clear the danger before Mesut Ozil’s square pass found Bukayo Saka unmarked inside the penalty area. Kelleher parried Saka’s attempt straight at Torreira, who converted at close-range.

Kelleher’s role in the second was also questionable. When Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s daisy-cutting cross deflected awkwardly off Sepp van den Berg, the 20-year-old parried again. Martinelli was the grateful recipient, finishing high into the net from no more than a yard or two out.

There is a great excitement in north London about Martinelli, who scored twice on his full debut in the previous round against Nottingham Forest. The 18-year-old ensured he would end the night with at least another brace again when Saka pounced on Harvey Elliott’s lose touch and found the Martinelli unmarked at the far post.

Unless Liverpool found some semblance of defensive shape and organisation, the game risked running away from them. A 33-year-old James Milner provided the steady hand on the tiller at the end of the first half, converting a penalty won by Elliott, who drew a cheap foul from Martinelli.

Years of experience are no barrier against mistakes. At the start of the second half, Milner made perhaps the most egregious error of the evening, under-cooking a pass to Kelleher. Maitland-Niles nipped in and nudged the ball around the goalkeeper, accepted a return from Ozil then poked into an unguarded net.

Curtis Jones celebrates his winning penalty (AFP via Getty Images)

At 4-2 with a little over half an hour remaining, there was still plenty of time for Arsenal to surrender their lead. It lasted all of eight minutes, in fact. Oxlade-Chamberlain reduced the arrears and scored against his former club for the first time when he ended a bout of midfield head tennis with a vicious, dipping shot from range.

Parity was then restored shortly after the hour mark by Origi, who took the ball from teenage substitute Curtis Jones, turned Rob Holding easily on the edge of the area then unleashed a shot that goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez helped into his own net.

Again, 10 minutes could not pass without a goal. Willock’s brilliant strike brought about a period of relative calm and appeared to have finally settled matters. Then came Origi’s overhead, Kelleher’s save from Ceballos and Jones composed spot-kick which finally, mercifully, brought the evening’s scoring to an end.

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