Man City Holders Hit Six, Liverpool Cruise in League Cup
Manchester City started their attempt to win a fifth straight League Cup with a 6-1 loss to Wycombe, while Japanese striker Takumi Minamino inspired Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Norwich on Tuesday.
Everton and Watford were the Premier League’s main victims in the third round, losing to QPR and Stoke respectively.
City will overtake Liverpool to a record nine League Cup wins if they win the trophy this quarter.
The holders got off to a perfect start for this mission as Pep Guardiola was rewarded for fielding a solid attack with Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez at the Etihad Stadium.
City, who made their debut at six academy graduates, were stunned in the 22nd minute as Brandon Hanlan scored his first goal for the third level Wycombe.
But Guardiola’s men equalized seven minutes later when De Bruyne sprinted on Foden’s pass and scored in the far corner for his first goal since May.
Mahrez shot City ahead with a flawless finish two minutes before the break after a good job from debutant Josh Wilson-Ebrand.
Foden crushed City in the third seconds later, recovering a short turn and piercing home 25 yards.
Torres got the fourth goal after 71 minutes with a close range finish and Mahrez’s tap-in and City’s first goal for Cole Palmer capped the demolition.
“I just have to thank the academy. They all do an amazing job,” Guardiola said.
“I was lucky enough to grow up in Barcelona. I won the Champions League with seven players from Barça academy. It’s unique.
“Here you have the feeling that we don’t just have one or two potential players but a lot of them. They have something special.”
Liverpool had already won 3-0 at Carrow Road in the Premier League earlier this season and their reserves have managed to repeat that score.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp made nine changes to the squad that beat Crystal Palace on Saturday, with 16-year-old Kaide Gordon and compatriot Conor Bradley making their debut.
Minamino, making his first appearance of the season after a thigh injury, propelled them into a fourth-minute lead as he pierced Divock Origi’s header.
– ‘Great time’ –
Norwich wasted the opportunity to equalize before half-time when Christos Tzolis’ penalty was saved by Caoimhin Kelleher after Bradley fouled Dimitris Giannoulis.
Origi doubled Liverpool’s advantage in the 50th minute, heading over Kostas Tsimikas cross for his first goal in 12 months.
Minamino scored his second goal 10 minutes from time, clinically scoring from close range.
“Footballers want to play, that’s clear. He was with his national team, got injured and wasn’t in good shape then,” Klopp said of Minamino.
“It wasn’t like he hasn’t played for 60 weeks. Taki is having a great time, training well and deserving both goals.”
Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton crashed into second-place QPR, losing 8-7 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Rafael Benitez made five changes after Everton’s loss to Aston Villa and Charlie Austin twice gave QPR the lead with Lucas Digne and Andros Townsend equalizing for the visitors.
In the shootout, Tom Davies’ penalty was saved by Seny Dieng and Jimmy Dunne converted the winning kick.
Watford paid the price for making 11 changes as the Hornets suffered a surprise 3-1 loss to second tier Stoke at Vicarage Road.
Southampton kept their cool to win 4-2 on penalties against Second Division Sheffield United after a 2-2 draw.
Leeds also survived a shootout, beating championship team Fulham 6-5 after a 0-0 draw.
Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez scored four goals – one more than his side had scored in five league appearances this season – in a 4-1 win over Rochdale.
Brentford crushed Oldham 7-0, the last club in Ligue 2, thanks to four goals from Marcus Forss.