Liverpool continued their perfect start to the domestic season as Stuart Moore’s calamity helped them secure a spot in the EFL Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win over MK Dons.
After Harvey Elliott squandered a great chance early on, MK Dons goalkeeper Moore made a complete mess of dealing with James Milner’s effort shortly before half-time.
Jurgen Klopp’s side could have been pegged back in the 59th minute when Jordan Bowery hit the post, but progression was secured when Ki-Jana Hoever headed in his maiden Liverpool goal.
Moore made a fantastic stop to deny Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Liverpool aimed to add further gloss, with Reds goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and centre-back Dejan Lovren maintaining the clean sheet late on.
Elliott looked set to mark his Liverpool debut in style moments after Conor McGrandles wasted a great chance for MK Dons, only for the 16-year-old – who became the youngest player to start a game for the club – to rattle the crossbar from six yards.
16 – At 16 years and 174 days old, Harvey Elliott is the youngest ever player to start a competitive match for @LFC, and the second youngest to play overall after Jerome Sinclair against West Brom in September 2012 (16y 6d). Sweet. pic.twitter.com/mGeYwveV28
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 25, 2019
Having been teed up for that chance by Milner, Elliott returned the favour with a sublime cross which Liverpool’s captain headed wide, but the visitors were gifted the lead in the 41st minute.
Moore failed to keep hold of Milner’s strike, fumbling it upwards and towards goal before flailing wildly at the loose ball, only able to punch it into the net.
The hosts were almost hauled back level when Bowery struck woodwork from close range, before Hoever wrapped up the win when he powered in Milner’s cross.
Oxlade-Chamberlain saw a low strike tipped onto the upright soon after, while Kelleher and Lovren denied Bowery and George Williams respectively.
Elliott seemed likely to have the final say when he curled an effort past Moore, but the woodwork stifled his celebrations once more as Liverpool ended a four-match losing streak in the competition.
What does it mean? Not perfect, but the Reds do the job
It was not pretty at times from the Premier League leaders, but with 11 changes that was to be expected. Liverpool did enough, booking their place in the last 16, while Klopp was able to cast his eye over the likes of Elliott and Hoever and hand valuable minutes to Naby Keita on his comeback from injury.
Youngsters impress as Milner slots back in with ease
Milner spent much of his first full season under Klopp filling in at left-back, and while the manager was able to blood some of Liverpool’s promising youngsters, it was the former England international who led the way.
Restricted to four starts so far this term, utility man Milner had no problem returning to the left-back position, his snap shot proving too much to handle for Moore before he teed up Hoever for Liverpool’s second.
Misery for Moore
Though Liverpool had created two gilt-edged chances, MK Dons looked to be heading into the interval on level terms, until Moore’s awful blunder. The goalkeeper’s initial fumble was bad enough, with his attempted recovery merely compounding his misery.
Liverpool will be aiming for a 16th successive Premier League win when they travel to Sheffield United on Saturday, while MK Dons return to League One action against Sunderland.
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