With rested Haaland, Man City are new Carabao Cup faves after dumping title-holders Liverpool

With rested Haaland, Man City are new Carabao Cup faves after dumping title-holders Liverpool

5: 20 PM ET

  • ogden mark

    Mark OgdenSenior Writer, ESPN FC

MANCHESTER, England — Liverpool will not be winning back-to-back Carabao Cups after Manchester City sent them home on Thursday with a dramatic 3-2 fourth round win for City at the Etihad. Man City advances to the quarterfinals where they will face Southampton. Matches are set to begin in the week of January. 9.

Goals from Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez were cancelled out by equalisers from Fabio Carvalho and Mohamed Salah respectively before Nathan Ake sealed victory for City with a 58th-minute header.

JUMP TO: Player ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights & notable moments | Post-game quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid reaction

1. City chasing Liverpool’s record after dumping holders from Cup competition

Manchester City can equal Liverpool’s record of nine EFL Cup wins this season after eliminating last season’s winners from the competition. With London’s giants Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham out of the competition, Manchester United and Newcastle are the main threats to City winning this season’s Carabao Cup. But no matter who City faces to win the Carabao Cup at Wembley next February (or any other competition), Pep Guardiola and his team are clear favorites to continue their dominance of the competition.

– Stream on ESPN : LaLiga, Bundesliga and more (U.S.)
– O’Hanlon: The 13 stats that explain the 2022 World Cup

City have won five of the past seven Carabao Cups, with only Liverpool last season and United, in 2017, able to wrestle the cup from City’s clutches.

Since Guardiola took charge of City in the summer of 2016, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach has guided the club to nine major trophies, including a domestic treble in 2018-19. The challenge for the remaining clubs is clear: they must find a way to beat City. City’s performance against Liverpool was troubling, having not played since mid November due to the World Cup shut down.

They have so much experience and depth, and the goals of Haaland that they seem unstoppable.

With the FA Cup starting in January, will it be long before we hear about City trying to win a quadruple? It’s almost guaranteed.

2. After missing World Cup, Haaland and Salah are back in business

Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah were two of the biggest absentees from Qatar 2022, with both Norway and Egypt failing to qualify for the World Cup. After six weeks of rest, both strikers returned to scoring goals in this tie.

Haaland scored his 24th goal of the season when he escaped marker Joe Gomez to volley Kevin De Bruyne‘s cross into the net on 11 minutes, but the former Borussia Dortmund forward could — and should — have scored after just 25 seconds when he tried an audacious shot from long range.

Moments later, Haaland burst into the Liverpool penalty area and unselfishly squared the ball to Cole Palmer when he could have shot at goal himself.

It was a breathtaking start by the 22-year-old, who looked as though he had been desperate to get back on the pitch after spending too long watching the rest of the world’s top players perform in Qatar.

Salah took longer to get going, but he still got his name on the scoresheet early in the second half when he scored from 12 yards after being teed up by Darwin Nunez.

Salah has a different style than Haaland, but they are still the Premier League’s best strikers.

After one game back, they are already both up and running in terms of goals, and it’s clear there will be plenty more to come this season.

3. Kids show the future is bright for Liverpool and Man City

The depth of the Manchester City and Liverpool squads was borne out by the strength of the starting teams selected by managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. While the mix of World Cup players as well as those who did not qualify for Qatar was expected, it was surprising to see Klopp and Guardiola offer chances to their young players at the Etihad.

City started with 18-year-old right-back Rico Lewis and 20-year-old forward Cole Palmer, while Liverpool had Stefan Bajcetic (18 years old), Harvey Elliott (19) and Fabio Carvalho (20) in their starting lineup.

Both Lewis and Palmer were born within 10 miles of the Etihad and are proof of City’s thriving youth policy, which is finding and nurturing the very best local talent.

Lewis proved himself to be a determined, pacey defender, giving Salah a difficult time in the second period. Palmer should have scored at most two goals in the frantic opening of the game.

Carvalho and Elliott, who both signed for Liverpool from Fulham, have already shown their ability at Anfield, and Carvalho made his mark by scoring his team’s first equaliser on the night.

And Spain-born Bajcetic, whose Serbian father, Srdan, played alongside Thiago Alcantara’s father, Mazinho, at Celta Vigo, was impressive in midfield before being replaced by the more experienced Fabinho at half-time. Manchester City: Player ratings

Celta Vigo657014 at half-time.

Player ratings

Manchester City: Stefan Ortega 6; Rico Lewis 7, Manuel Akanji 6, Aymeric Laporte 6, Nathan Ake 7; Rodri 5, Ilkay Gundogan 6; Riyad Mahrez 7, Kevin De Bruyne 8, Cole Palmer 6; Erling Haaland 7.

Subs: John Stones 6, Jack Grealish 6, Phil Foden 6, Bernardo Silva 6.

Liverpool: Caoimhin Kelleher 8; James Milner 6, Joe Gomez 5, Joel Matip 6, Andy Robertson 7; Harvey Elliott 7, Stefan Bajcetic 6, Thiago Alcantara 6; Darwin Nunez 7, Mohamed Salah 7, Fabio Carvalho 7.

Subs: Nat Phillips 7, Fabinho 6, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Jordan Henderson 6, Naby Keita 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool

The Liverpool goalkeeper has saved his team more than once in this competition, but although he was on the losing side on this occasion, the Republic of Ireland international kept his team in the game as City dominated in the first half.

WORST: Rodri, Manchester City

The Manchester City midfielder played with an unusual lack of discipline. In the first half, he kicked out at Carvalho and wildly reacted to a Fabinho challenge. Rodri should’ve been given two yellow cards.

Highlights and notable moments

If there were any concerns that Erling Haaland might’ve cooled off during the World Cup break, he quickly put them to rest. Although Erling Haaland did not travel to Qatar with his Norway team, he seemed to be rejuvenated by the break.

Less than 10 minutes back in action for Manchester City, Haaland found his way to a cross from Kevin De Bruyne and willed it into the net, putting Man City up 1-0 over Liverpool:

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 22, 2022

It didn’t take long for Liverpool to strike back — less than 10 minutes, in fact.

Fabio Carvalho tapped in a cross from James Milner for a cool finish:

Carvalho brings Liverpool level pic.twitter.com/9Ax6m8K6ui

— ESPN (@ESPNPlus) December 22, 2022

The second-half whistle had barely been blown by the time Manchester City took their lead back. Riyad Mahrez scored a goal after Rodri had given him a ball. It was 2-1 for Man City.

Liverpool scored just a minute later, with Mohamed Salah calmly scoring a left-footed goal, assisted by Darwin Nunez. You didn’t think the goal scoring would end there, did you?

Manchester City took the lead for yet a third time in the 58th minute, with De Bruyne’s cross finding the head of Nathan Ake.

De Bruyne puts it on a plate for Nathan Ake pic.twitter.com/4yYZOAAEXQ

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 22, 2022

After the match: What the players and managers said

Manchester City defender Nathan Ake on the pace of the game: “We didn’t have too much training [before the game due players returning from the World Cup], so it was a little bit tough in the end, a little bit cramping there. It was a good experience to see players who had been away for a while come back and play like this. “

Ake on returning from the World Cup: “It was experience to play in the World Cup, but after you have a few days off, then you have to come back in, in a different environment, different way of playing, so it’s a bit of adjusting and stuff. We went through it well today, and we hope to continue like this. “

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez on City’s chances now that Liverpool are knocked out: “I don’t know who’s left. We beat Chelsea and Liverpool, which are two of the top teams. We’ll see what happens, but we’ll take it one game at a time and train for the next Premier League match, which is the most important for us right now. “

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Erling Haaland scored his 24th goal in all competitions this season — the most this season by any player in Europe’s top five leagues. He has scored goals in three of his four matches across all competitions.

  • Kevin De Bruyne, who assisted Haaland’s goal, has assisted a quarter (6) of Haaland’s 24 goals this season in all competitions.

Up next

Manchester City: After a World Cup that asked more of Man City’s starters than any other team in the Premier League, the Citizens head to Leeds to face Leeds United on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 3 p.m. ET. Leeds coach Jesse Marsch, former coach of Haaland, joked that the Man City striker should sit the match out if he wanted. He probably wouldn’t mind if Haaland took the request seriously, though — Man City sit second on the table while Leeds are 15th.

Liverpool: The Reds are back to Premier League action after Christmas, traveling to take on Aston Villa on Monday, Dec. 26, at 2: 30 p.m. ET. Villa sit 12th on the Premier League table while Liverpool sit at No. 6.

Read More