Liverpool won in a dramatic, sudden-death penalty shootout 5-4 after Takumi Minamino had dragged the game into the lottery after a 3-3 draw with Leicester at Anfield.
Luke Thomas and Ryan Bertrand saw their penalties saved, while Minamino crashed his effort against the bar. But half-time sub Diogo Jota won it to put the Reds into the EFL Cup semi-finals.
Jamie Vardy netted twice in the first 13 minutes and James Maddison hammered in the third in between Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s strike.
Jota pulled one back midway through the second half and just as it looked as though the visitors would hang on, up popped Minamino to take the game to a shoot-out.
Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes for Liverpool’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at home to the Foxes.
Only Tyler Morton kept his place from Sunday’s Premier League draw at Tottenham, with fellow 19-year-old Billy Koumetio making his full debut in central defence.
Captain Jordan Henderson returned after illness alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield, with Roberto Firmino and Minamino starting up front.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers went with close to a full-strength side for their first game in 10 days, with just three changes from their last outing.
Vardy returned to partner Patson Daka up front, with Boubakary Soumare and Ricardo Pereira also coming in.
Leicester took the lead after just 10 minutes and it was no surprise to see Vardy on the scoresheet.
The Foxes striker scored his ninth goal in 14 appearances against Liverpool after the hosts gave the ball away on the counter-attack. Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher got his hand to the shot but was unable to keep it out.
Within a couple of minutes Vardy had doubled his tally with a sidefoot effort from close range.
Daka had broken down the left and isolated Koumetio before crossing for his strike partner to convert.
Liverpool responded though with a goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 19th minute.
A rocket by James Maddison 🚀 pic.twitter.com/tKl5Bw1QIi
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) December 22, 2021
Kostas Tsimikas’ long cross was knocked back by Neco Williams and Roberto Firmino brought it down before laying it off for the midfielder to drill home.
The goals continued to flow and Maddison restored Leicester’s two-goal advantage with a fierce, dipping strike from 25 yards just past the half-hour.
James Milner, Diogo Jota and Ibrahima Konate were all introduced at half-time with Koumetio, Morton and Conor Bradley making way.
It was Leicester though who almost extended their lead when Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was fed by Wilfried Ndidi. He drove deep into Liverpool territory before seeing his shot tipped away by Kelleher.
Minamino then made a break down the left and crossed for Firmino, but he delayed and Caglar Soyuncu slid in to block his effort. That was Soyuncu’s last action as he limped off and was replaced by Jannik Vestergaard.
Jota hammers home
Jordan Henderson then made way for Naby Keita for the hosts as they looked to get back into the cup tie. And they edged closer in the 68th minute. Jota ran on to Minamino’s pass to hammer the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.
And just four minutes later Tsimikas hit a volley from a corner, but it was blocked by Vestergaard. The left-back got a second bite at it, only for Vestergaard to block it again.
Oxlade-Chamberlain then blasted the ball over the ball after the ball fell to him after good work from Jota.
Then a brilliant throughball from Oxlade-Chamberlain picked out Firmino. He did well to control it initially before a loose touch allowed Schmeichel the chance to clear it.
With 82 minutes gone Schmeichel then reacted brilliantly to push away a Jota header after Keita’s shot had been saved.
And with five minutes of stoppage time played Minamino struck to level it at 3-3 and take the game to penalties.
Milner’s cross found him on the edge of the box and he found the corner with a fine finish.
Penalties the ensued with Jota having the final say.