Liverpool progressed to their 17th League Cup semi-final last night beating a spirited Leeds side 2-0 at Anfield. The Reds, who were missing influential play-maker Coutinho and star striker Sturridge, had to fight hard and wait until the 75th minute to break the deadlock. Belgian striker Divock Origi was having little success against a well drilled Leeds defence, but has a knack of scoring important goals in big games, and he continued this trend last night netting the vital opener, which was his second goal in as many games.
Oricki’s opener proved crucial and knocked the wind out of the visitors, who found themselves 2-0 down five minutes later, when academy prodigy 17 year old Ben Woodburn entered the record books becoming Liverpool’s youngest ever goal scorer, beating Michael Owen’s famous record by 98 days.
Newcastle United’ dream run in the EFL Cup came to a heart breaking end last night as they were knocked out on penalties by 10 men Hull. The tie ended 0-0 in normal time; Newcastle looked like they had won it when they took a deserved lead in extra-time thanks to former Hull star Diame, and with the extra man advantage many would have backed them to go on and win the tie at this stage. However, they shot themselves in the foot allowing Hull to equalise straight from the kick-off and Hull stopper Jakupovic proved to be the hero in the subsequent penalty shoot-out, denying Shelvey and Gouffran while striker Gayle hit the woodwork.
Tonight’s second set of quarter-finals brings together Manchester United and West Ham together at Old Trafford for the second time in a week after they met in the Premier League at the weekend drawing 1-1. United have lost only one of their last 24 Cup ties at Old Trafford (Chelsea 2005), winning 22 and I expect them to dominate the Hammers again tonight, like they did at the weekend, but this time to score the goals their domination and possession deserves. Backing United to Win and Over 2.5 Goals Match Double appeals the most from a betting perspective.
The other semi-final brings together Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates and with the Gunners experiencing plenty of injury doubts we could witness an upset tonight. The Saints performed well in recent encounters with the Gunners and defeated them 2-1 at the Emirates the last time they met in this competition back in 2014/2015. They are unlikely to be brushed aside tonight given their defensive prowess and with Arsenal having also lost their last three home Cup ties against Premier League opposition, and with bigger priorities in Arsene Wengers mind on the European and domestic front, I expect the Saints to progress to the semi-finals tonight.