The Reds couldn’t make it two from two over Arsenal this week, falling to the Londoners on penalties after drawing 0-0 in the Carabao Cup round of 16.
Harry Wilson, starting his competitive first match for the club, and Divock Origi missed the crucial spot kicks, allowing Mikel Arteta’s men through to the quarterfinals despite Liverpool looking the more likely side in normal time. It marks the second time in little over month that Liverpool have been found wanting in a penalty shootout against Arsenal after also losing the Community Shield at the start of the campaign.
While both Wilson and Origi have been rumored to be on their way out due to the arrival of the likes of Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino, it was actually another former first team regular, Xherdan Shaqiri, absent from the matchday squad, who’s departure, manager Jurgen Klopp strongly hinted after the game, might be imminent.
“Some are not involved tonight,” the German said in his post-match interview when asked about the Swiss winger.
“It’s the time of the year where some things happen in the background and we have to react sometimes and that’s what we did.”
While Sevilla and Roma have been linked with the Swiss winger in the past, there haven’t been any recent updates on clubs making firm inquiries. A sale would make sense as, although the condensed season has prompted Klopp to keep a larger squad than he normally prefers, there are still players who would be best served by moves elsewhere before next Monday’s transfer deadline.
Of those that remain, the League Cup had been shaping up as an excellent opportunity for some of the youth and first XI hopefuls in the squad such as Curtis Jones, Rhys Williams and Minamino to get competitive minutes under their belt, but game time will now have to be found elsewhere.
A Herculean effort from Gunners keeper Benrd Leno kept the Reds out, denying the likes of Jota, Virigl Van Dijk the excellent Marko Grujic on a number of occasions.
“I think if there was a winner in the 90 minutes, it should’ve been us,” Klopp said of the match.
“But we’re not in dreamland—you have to score and that’s what we didn’t do. But I liked different parts of the game.
“I saw a proper performance and a lot of things that we want to have on the pitch. I was fine with the game and we’d have loved to have won it in the game as everyone knows it’s tricky in the penalty shootout.”