Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers thought some of his young players could take considerable credit from a less-than-vintage team performance in Tuesday’s dramatic Capital One Cup victory over Middlesbrough, which ended with an epic penalty shoot-out.
Sky Bet Championship side Boro held their Barclays Premier League opponents to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes of the third-round encounter at Anfield, almost snatching victory when they hit the post in the 85th.
They then ensured it went to penalties by netting a second equaliser to make it 2-2 in the dying seconds of extra-time.
Liverpool eventually won the shoot-out 14-13 as Albert Adomah fired the 30th attempt wide. It is believed to be a record-equalling number of successful penalties needed to win a cup tie in England.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expects Kieran Gibbs and Per Mertesacker to be available for this weekend’s derby clash with Tottenham.
Knocks meant the defensive pair were only fit enough to be amongst the substitutes last night as Southampton won 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium to send the Gunners out of the Capital One Cup.
Arsenal struggled to create many clear-cut chances but it was at the back where their main issue lied, with the inexperienced back four boasting just 54 Arsenal appearances between them - the majority belonging to Francis Coquelin, who was playing out-of-position.
Injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal have left them light defensively, while knocks saw Mertesacker and Gibbs remain on the bench - injuries that Wenger says will not keep them out of Saturday’s derby with Tottenham.
Mark Hughes left Sunderland dreaming of silverware once again after watching Stoke book their place in the Capital One Cup fourth-round draw.
The former striker, who won 10 trophies with Manchester United and Chelsea during his distinguished playing career, revealed after a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light that a League Cup run was one of his targets at the start the season.
Hughes said: “We talked about this right at the beginning of the season. We are only in three competitions and realistically we can only win two of them, so we wanted to try to do our best in this one.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez remained in a positive frame of mind despite his team tumbling out of the Capital One Cup after a first-ever defeat to Swansea.
The Toffees crashed to a 3-0 defeat at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night, as goals from Nathan Dyer, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Marvin Emnes earned 2013 cup winners Swansea a spot in the last 16 of the competition.
Martinez was disappointed with the result but felt there were plenty of positives to be taken after making seven changes from the side which lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.
“We were looking for individual performances after making so many changes and we got that,” Martinez said.