Szoboszlai stunner settles lively League Cup tie
Liverpool once again came from behind, beating Leicester City 3-1 at home.
Liverpool’s excellent start to the season has translated to the League Cup, the Reds convincingly dispatched Leicester, who failed to capitalise on an early lead provided by Kasey McAteer.
The Foxes raced into the lead after just three minutes when McAteer was played in behind and offered a sublimely cool finish into the Kop net. Liverpool, for the fifth time this season, were behind.
However, Klopp’s side were undeterred. They sustained pressure on the away side, with youngsters Harvey Elliott and Ben Doak offering most threat in open play.
Liverpool repeatedly pressed their opponents into impossibly tight situations. Despite Leicester neatly evading pressure on numerous occasions, partly thanks to their 3-2-2-3 in possession structure, it felt as though a breakthrough was coming for the home side.
The Foxes’ best out-ball was in behind Kostas Tsimikas, who had a laboured first half, they were unable to forge any moves as incisive as McAteer’s goal, however.
They settled for slowing the game down, largely exploiting the consistently late tackles arriving from Waturu Endo in the centre of the park. The Japanese clearly relishes duels and challenges, committing four fouls and receiving a booking; but his role at Liverpool is more of a contemplative General than the gutsy front-line trooper we saw at Stuttgart.
His adjustment is still underway, he’s being asked to read the game ten seconds in advance, after years of swatting away crosses and heroically diving in front of shots. Lags can be expected, but it remains unclear as to what his role in the squad is.
Liverpool’s other midfield arrival, Ryan Gravenberch, offered a more aesthetically pleasing performance. The young Dutch prospect was silky enough in possession, perhaps not a surprise, having been honed at Ajax and plucked by Bayern Munich in 2022. He was able to glide away from challenges and play slick passes through tight spaces, his performance was solid though Liverpool fans can expect more from him. His manoeuvres, while good-looking, are often a little convoluted. He is a player with a patently high ceiling, but it remains to be seen in which room.
It was Gravenberch who set up the equaliser, exactly 45 minutes after the opener. He neatly found his compatriot Gakpo, who steered the ball into the bottom right from just inside the box. Liverpool never looked back.
With 25 minutes left, the cavalry arrived. Dominik Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez, who are both enjoying fantastic starts to the season, entered the fray. Within five minutes the Hungarian sent a rocket soaring in off the bar.
Nunez was a disruptive influence, as usual.
Jota added a third in the dying embers, created expertly by Jarell Quansah, who enjoyed a quietly excellent game.
In a defence including a 20-year-old and an out-of-position Curtis Jones, it was to be expected for Ibrahima Konate to be spinning multiple plates throughout the game, but Quansah carried his weight defensively– most notably charging back to prevent McAteer after a Konate mistake – he completed the most passes of any player in the game, too.
Liverpool will face AFC Bournemouth away in the fourth round.