Divock Origi continued his fine EFL Cup form and Ben Woodburn announced himself to the Anfield faithful by becoming the club’s youngest scorer as Liverpool booked a semi-final spot with a 2-0 win over Leeds United.
Garry Monk’s in-form Championship side had the best chance of a largely forgettable first half through Hadi Sacko and both teams were denied by the post after the interval.
Leeds midfielder Kemar Roofe and Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum were the men who came closest to breaking the deadlock before Origi struck.
The Belgium international prodded home a superb cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold at the near post with 14 minutes to play and another of Jurgen Klopp’s teenage rookies, Woodburn, made Liverpool history aged 17 years and 45 days to seala return to the final four for last season’s beaten finalists.
Origi hit a hat-trick against Southampton during that run to Wembley and now boasts six goals in his past six outings in the competition.
Ahead of kick-off, Anfield observed a minute’s silence to commemorate the 71 people who died in the Chapecoense plane crash.
Leeds enjoyed an early opening when Sacko sprung a flimsy Liverpool offside trip, but Simon Mignolet stood firm.
Opposite number Marco Silvestri made a fine save in the Leeds goal to keep Wijnaldum’s 12th-minute strike out of the top corner as the hosts began to dictate the play
Leeds lost Eunan O’Kane to injury before the half hour and hesitation from Kyle Bartley almost allowed Emre Can to give Liverpool the lead, although the Germany international prodded wide.
Origi contrived to dribble his way out of a promising position during the opening stages of the second half, confronted with a Leeds defence sporting Luke Ayling on as a midway replacement for captain Liam Cooper, before Roofe capitalised on a mistake from Kevin Stewart to curl against the post with Mignolet stranded.
Monk sent on Leeds’ top scorer Chris Wood after the hour and the Championship outfit continued to threaten, with Bartley heading wide from Charlie Taylor’s corner and Mignolet proving himself equal to Roofe’s latest effort.
It was Liverpool’s turn to hit the upright when Wijnaldum burst into the area with 18 minutes remaining, steering a shot across Silvestri and against the base of the post before United managed to scramble the loose ball to safety.
But there would be no reprieve when the 18-year-old Alexander-Arnold supplied the ammunition for Origi and Woodburn etched himself into Liverpool history five minutes later.
The Welsh youngster, who made his senior debut as a substitute against Sunderland on Saturday, swept Wijnaldium’s flick into the top corner to cap a wonderful team move and replace Michael Owen as the club’s youngster goalscorer in front of the Kop.
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