Thursday 26 November, 2020

Arsenal beat Liverpool in penalty shootout to advance in EFL Cup

Bernd Leno was the shoot-out hero for Arsenal in their penalty win over Liverpool.

Bernd Leno was the shoot-out hero for Arsenal in their penalty win over Liverpool.

Bernd Leno saved two penalties as Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup with a 5-4 shoot-out victory over Liverpool after a goalless draw at Anfield.

Both sides were much changed from Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at the same venue three days earlier and a different outcome followed in what was a far quieter contest on Thursday.

Takumi Minamino wasted the best opportunity of the game in the first half and there was no change to the scoreline after the interval.

Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties in August's Community Shield and they held their nerve once again here, with Leno saving efforts from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson after Mohamed Elneny had been denied by Adrian for the visitors.

Joe Willock squeezed the winning spot-kick under Adrian to make it three victories in four for Mikel Arteta over Jurgen Klopp since his appointment at Emirates Stadium late last year.

The visitors took just eight minutes to expose Liverpool's high line - a theme of Monday's meeting - but Eddie Nketiah dithered six yards out and Adrian got a hand to the ball.

Liverpool grew into the match and should have been ahead before half-time, with Minamino firing against the bar from four yards after Leno parried Diogo Jota's header.

Leno made amends for that questionable goalkeeping eight minutes into the second half when getting down to claw away Virgil van Dijk's flick from close range.

The Arsenal keeper was increasingly busy as the game progressed, doing well to keep out full debutant Jota either side of attempts from Marko Grujic.

Adrian was called into action to keep out Rob Holding's header at the other end against the run of play as the game went all the way to penalties.

James Milner, Alexandre Lacazette, Georginio Wijnaldum, Cedric Soares and Minamino all successfully converted before Elneny shot too close to Adrian.

However, Leno was equal to Origi's weak attempt and, after Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Curtis Jones and Nicolas Pepe found the net, the Arsenal number one guessed the right way to thwart Wilson and tee up Willock to win the tie.

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