Manchester City qualified for the quarter-finals of the English League Cup by beating defending champions Liverpool 3-2 in the final game of the fourth round on Thursday in Manchester.
In this post-world meeting, the two teams presented themselves in new compositions, with many absent on both sides.
At kick-off, the Citizens showed up without Kyle Walker, Jack Grealish, John Stones, Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden, Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez, the Argentine world champion. On the other hand Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne were good starters.
For its part, Liverpool were deprived of Virgil Van Dikj, Ibrahima Konaté, and Diogo Jota.
The first shivers were not long in coming at the Etihad Stadium as from the first minute Erling Haaland, City’s star striker, spun alone on goal but completely missed his lobbed shot, which passed well above Caoimhin’s goal Kelleher.
Six minutes later, Haaland, again, left on the edge of offside, crossed for Cole Palmer but the young 20-year-old left winger, in an ideal position, also completely missed his recovery (7th).
City’s very clear domination at the start of the match was finally rewarded by the inevitable Haaland’s opener who beat defender Joe Gomez on a cross from Kevin De Bruyne to deceive Kelleher with a rebound from the left ( 10th).
But the reaction of the Reds was quick and then the Portuguese Fabio Carvalho equalized by taking a pass from James Milner (20th).
The match, as rhythmic as it was balanced, saw the Citizens miss two big chances by Gündogan (36th) and Nathan Ake with a header (37th), whose two attempts, each time on passes from the excellent De Bruyne, were saved by Kelleher.
Then the Uruguayan from Liverpool Darwin Nunez distinguished himself in quick succession by missing two chances before the break (42nd, shot too crossed, 45th + 2 recovery from the flat foot missed at the far post).
– Superb goal from Mahrez –
The second half started as strong as the first had ended: Algerian international Riyad Mahrez gave City the advantage with a curling left-footed shot after eliminating his direct opponent with a magnificent oriented control (47th) .
No time to breathe for the spectators since Mohamed Salah equalized a minute later, at the conclusion of a counter-attack and a cross from Nunez (48th).
But ten minutes later, De Bruyne dropped a new cross on the head of the Dutchman Nathan Ake who, this time, left no chance for Kelleher (58th).
Opposite, Nunez, decidedly not very successful on Thursday, once again distinguished himself by a big miss, crossing his shot too much, alone in front of Ortega (72nd).
Manchester City thus joins in the quarter-finals the qualifiers of Tuesday and Wednesday: Wolverhampton, Southampton, Newcastle, Leicester, Charlton (D3), Nottingham Forest and Manchester United.
But by then, Liverpool (6th) will have resumed the championship on Monday December 26 at Aston Villa (12th), and Manchester City (2nd) the day after at Leeds (15th).