Daniel Sturridge was at the double as Liverpool knocked a new-look Spurs out of the EFL Cup on a scrappy night at Anfield.
Mauricio Pochettino handed a first start to summer signing Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, as well as bringing in youth talents Cameron Carter-Vickers, Josh Onomah and Harry Winks for the League Cup clash.
The home side lined up with a similarly changed XI, but the potent attacking threat of Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge was always the more threatening of the two forward lines.
And it was the latter of the two who made the first impression on the game, tapping home from close range after Marko Grujic’s scruffy shot had worked it’s way into the England striker’s path.
Spurs’ best chances were being created by an unlikely source. Kieran Trippier was running Alberto Moreno ragged down the right flank and twice the former Burnley man picked out targets in the Liverpool box.
Firstly Vincent Janssen headed over:
…Before Lucas Leiva put his body on the line to prevent what would have been Georges-Kevin N’Koudou’s first goal for his new club:
Trippier was in rampant form, and he didn’t take his foot off the gas in the second half.
Minutes after the teams reappeared, he was going for goal himself with an audacious effort that only a player fuelled by confidence would attempt:
The Reds always looked more clinical in front of goal, and Spurs’ high defensive line was allowing pacey Belgian Origi to work wonders down Ben Davies’ wing.
Origi should have been celebrating an assist near the hour mark as he tee’d up Sturridge once more, only for him to miscue at precisely the wrong time.
He took just 10 minutes to atone for his error.
Kevin Wimmer and Cameron Carter-Vickers were left standing as he was released by a scything throughball, and Sturridge obliged in true fashion by tucking the ball between Michel Vorm’s legs to double the lead.
The game looked certain to slip away from the young Spurs side, but second half replacement Erik Lamela had other ideas as he wriggled his way into the Liverpool box and drew a foul from fellow South American Lucas Leiva, earning a penalty and a chance at an unlikely comeback.
There were no penalty-taking arguments this week as Vincent Janssen tucked away his second goal in Lilywhite, following on from his spot-kick against Gillingham in the lat round:
Spurs pressed for the leveller, with Pochettino calling on 19-year-old debutant Shayon Harrison to bolster the attacking threat.
But Sturridge had too much class for the men at the other end of the field, his hat-trick once again evading him by the smallest of margins. Replays showed that now-Captain Michel Vorm had actually kept this one out by an impressive fingertip.
But it wasn’t to be for Pochettino’s cup-side, as Jurgen Klopp’s men held on to book their place in the Quarter-Finals of the competition yet again.
Next up it’s Premier League holders Leicester City at White Hart Lane.
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