Leicester City eliminated Liverpool from the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening, despite large periods of dominance from the Reds.

By 90Min
September 19, 2017

Shinji Okazaki and Islam Slimani each scored as Leicester City eliminated Liverpool from the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening, despite large periods of dominance from the Reds.

Both sides featured a fair bit of rotation, with Ben Hamer and Danny Ward deputising in their sides' respective goal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (at right wing, much to his presumed outrage) and Dominic Solanke made their first starts in a Liverpool shirts, whilst Aleksandar Dragovic and Vicente Iborra were also handed debuts for the Foxes. 

It was a pleasing sight to see Danny Ings included in Jurgen Klopp's matchday squad, after a torrid 11 month injury layoff and a second major knee injury of his career. 

Joe Gomez started next to Ragnar Klavan in central defence, and many fans expected this to be a night where the young Englishman could stake a claim to be part of the solution to Liverpool's long-term defensive problems. 

Both teams started as you would expect them to; Liverpool looked to venture forward with swagger and verve - Andrew Robertson's overlapping runs looked dangerous early on - whilst Craig Shakespeare's side looked to get bodies behind the ball and hit the Reds on the break. 

Robertson continued to look dangerous, allowed far too much space down Leicester's right flank - Demarai Gray didn't look like he fancied tracking back much - and narrowly missed Solanke with a fizzing delivery into the Foxes' box. 

The Scottish full back somehow came even closer a few moments later with only the lumbering bravery of Wes Morgan keeping Coutinho from a tap-in. 

Leicester were well and truly up against it, and wasted possession on the rare occasion they were even gifted it. Liverpool weren't so much knocking on the door as taking an axe to it, like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. 

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After looking hesitant, and taking too many touches a little too often for most of the first half, Solanke had his best chance just before the break. Coutinho's persistence paid off as Solanke was able to latch onto his dinked ball into the box, but his lofted effort could only bounce off Hamer's crossbar.

Despite the Reds' dominance, the two sides went in level at the break, if in score only. There was a real air of familiarity surrounding Klopp's side, having been unable to break down a defensive, 4-4-2 side, despite having the lion's share of essentially every aspect of the game. 

Ben Woodburn was thrown on in place of Coutinho after half time, and fans of footballing narratives waited with baited breath to see what the exciting Welsh child had to offer. 

Leonardo Ulloa then injured himself heading away a corner, which is worrying. The Argentine was replaced by human hornets nest Shinji Okazaki, and looked far more of a driving force for the Foxes' front line than the pair of target men had even approached being in the first 45 minutes.

The Japanese forward took about ten minutes to turn the game on it's head. Benefiting from some lax set piece defending (shock) and a good old-fashioned knock down (also shock), Okazaki was able to bundle his shot past Ward and give Craig Shakespeare's side a thoroughly unexpected lead. 

Leicester suddenly found themselves with a spring in their step, and they turned the tables on the Reds, pressing them high and ruffling a few feathers in the process. 

Woodburn nearly sent the Internet into overdrive by clanging Hamer's goal with a classy placed shot, but the Leicester box was now awash with blue shirts, and the bus truly looked to have been parked. 

Danny Ings was thrown on, warming the hearts of many with his first appearance for 329 days, and he very nearly made the perfect impact, just failing to get enough contact on Woodburn's odd cross, after an intelligent run.

Then Leicester made it 2-0, and it was weird. Slimani drove towards the Liverpool goal, showing a surprising amount of agility, with several Reds defenders bouncing off the Algerian's hulking frame. Slimani then rifled a shot perfectly into Ward's top corner, and the Foxes advantage was doubled. It was a blockbuster of a goal that really was not befitting of either side on the night.

Liverpool struggled for any momentum after this moment of magic from Slimani, and Shakespeare's side were more than happy to see out the rest of the match comfortably. 

Liverpool can take some comfort in that this was a heavily rotated side, but even so the performance was far below the standard fans have come to expect from even squad players, let alone the like of Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum. 

Leicester meanwhile will hope that this result will kickstart their momentum this season, as they continue to try and pitch themselves as the Premier League's most unpredictable team. 

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