Liverpool’s kids didn’t wilt against Premier League side Aston Villa in a League Cup quarterfinal at Villa Park, but were punished on the scoreboard.
The difference was clinical finishing in a 5-0 score line, as Liverpool fudged its first half chances in front of goal. The Reds youngsters saw Villa keeper Orjan Nyland make eight saves on the day.
The Reds trailed by four at halftime despite a 4-3 edge in shots on target.
Wesley Moraes scored Villa’s only goal.
VIlla will enter the semifinal draw with the winners of three Wednesday quarterfinals. Man City visits Oxford United, Manchester United hosts Colchester United, and Leicester City heads to Everton.
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Put in an unsavory position when Jurgen Klopp opted to bring nearly every healthy player with first team experience to Qatar for the Club World Cup, Liverpool’s kids were lively out of the gate. They showed their understandable immaturity on the stage in lacking the final ball over the first dozen minutes.
Henri Lansbury prodded an own goal for 2-0 when his cross was deflected to fool Kelleher, who clawed backward but couldn’t find the ball before it looped into the side netting.
Harvey Elliott showed his style with a delightful little chipped pass that Curtis Jones used to force a save out of Orjan Nyland. Elliott was very good on the day, with 90 percent passing and a shot on target. Captain for the day Pedro Chirivella also made a good impression.
It was 3-0 when Kodjia blazed past the Liverpool back line to slide a pass beyond the reach of a splayed Kelleher. The Ivorian added a goal before halftime.
That first 45 saw shots on target in favor of Liverpool by just 4-3. Problem is all of the on-target Villa attempts plus the o.g. went in the Reds goal.
Kelleher made a great save on Kodjia’s 60th minute hat trick bid.