League Cup: Arsenal edges past Liverpool on penalties

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno's spectacular saves to stop Diogo Jota and Marko Grujic helped Arsenal as it beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties in the League Cup.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno completes a spectacular save during the side's encounter against Liverpool.   -  Getty Images

Arsenal squeezed past Liverpool 5-4 on penalties to advance to the League Cup quarter-finals on Thursday after a goalless 90 minutes.

With the Premier League champion making several changes to the team that beat Arsenal in the league 3-1 on Monday and its opponent also rotating, it was always unlikely to be a high-class encounter.

Liverpool had the better chances and should have been awarded a 44th-minute penalty when Diogo Jota was brought down in the box.

The resulting free kick eventually led to Takumi Minimino finding space and smashing his close-range shot onto the crossbar.

Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno made two consecutive saves to stop Jota and Marko Grujic and the visitor responded with a chance of its own as Rob Holding's header was punched away by Adrian in the 70th minute. The Gunners also appealed for a penalty in stoppage time when James Milner fell and handled the ball.

The referee Kevin Friend did not point to the spot and there is no VAR in the competition.

Arsenal, however, celebrated in shootout when Joe Willock's spot kick crept under keeper Adrian to send it through.

Leno, who sustained a major knee injury last season, said he was not bothered by his place in the team after second-choice keeper Emiliano Martinez impressed in the FA Cup final.

“The club always gave me the feeling I was the number one, I am the number one and will be the number one,” Leno, who kept a clean sheet and saved two penalties in Thursday's League Cup victory over Liverpool, told Sky Sports.

“That was always very good from the club - my job is to prove it every week and I think I've done it again.

“Of course, it's very good for a goalkeeper to make saves from penalties and see laughing faces after the game, but I'd prefer next time to win the game without a shootout. When it happens though it's even better.”

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