Jurgen Klopp walked away from the crowd and buried his face under his snood. He looked like a man who knew what was coming next and so it proved.
All night he had seen Bernd Leno, Arsenal’s keeper, wage a one-man war against Liverpool, keeping out a succession of goal-bound shots. Why would things be any different in a penalty shootout? They weren’t. Leno was the hero of the hour, denying Divock Origi and Harry Wilson from 12 yards and, somehow, Arsenal found themselves in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Liverpool had enough chances to win as comfortably as they had done three days earlier, in the Premier League, but they were made to pay by Leno and, as it turned out, Arsenal repeated the feat of beating Klopp’s side in the same manner as they had done at Wembley in the Community Shield five weeks ago.
Credit to Arsenal, for whom Joe Willock converted the decisive penalty with a shot that squirmed under the body of Adrian in sudden death, but Liverpool will be kicking themselves as to how they managed to let this one slip. They wanted to win this and their team sheet said as much.
There was something incongruous about seeing Mohamed Salah appearing in this competition. In his three years at Anfield, his only involvement in the League Cup was a three-minute cameo when Liverpool were trying to peg back Chelsea in a third round tie in September 2018.
Salah had been wonderful when the sides met on Monday, a scampering and scurrying pest who drove Arsenal to distraction. There were no goals for him then but his performance provided another reminder that his game has improved a notch from last season.
Takumi Minamino wasted Liverpool's best chance to score during the first period when his rebound effort hit the crossbar
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (second right) endured a quiet hour before being substituted in the 61st minute of the tie
Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah missed an early opportunity to give his side the lead after being foiled by Liverpool's Adrian
Liverpool: Adrian, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Van Dijk (Gomez 61), Milner, Grujic, Jones, Wilson, Jota (Wijnaldum 76), Minamino, Salah (Origi 61)
Subs not used: Fabinho, Robertson, Kelleher, Elliott
Booked: Minamino, Wilson
Arsenal: Leno, Cedric, Gabriel, Holding, Kolasinac, Willock, Xhaka, Pepe, Ceballos (Elneny 68), Saka (Maitland-Niles 86), Nketiah (Lacazette 82)
Subs not used: Tierney, Runarsson, Luiz, Nelson
Booked: Xhaka, Cedric
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
His inclusion here, however, did not pay immediate dividends. Arsenal are learning how to become dogmatic since Mikel Arteta began knocking them into shape and they were more than happy to sit in and frustrate Liverpool, while looking for gains of their own on the break.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
It was Arsenal who had the first sight of goal in the 20th minute but Eddie Nketiah was thwarted by Adrian’s perfectly-timed challenge, the goalkeeper pilfering the ball off Nketiah’s foot as he shaped to shoot. A