Liverpool’s defence of their Carabao Cup title ended in the fourth round, with Manchester City beating Jurgen Klopp’s team 3-2 to set up a quarter-final meeting with Southampton
Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez suggested Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t prioritising Carabao Cup success over other competitions despite eliminating holders Liverpool from the competition.
Both teams picked teams with a blend of youth and experience, with academy talents Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis starting for City. Erling Haaland and Nathan Ake scored either side of an effort from Algeria international Mahrez, with goals from Fabio Carvalho and Mohamed Salah not enough for Jurgen Klopp’s visitors.
City will face Southampton in the next round, after Nathan Jones’ side came from behind to eliminate Lincoln City. However, with Guardiola’s men still gunning for glory in other competitions, Mahrez admitted this cup isn’t their biggest priority.
“We’ve beaten Chelsea and Liverpool [in the Carabao Cup already] so we’ll see,” Mahrez said before the quarter-final draw was confirmed. “But we’ll take it game by game and concentrate on the next Premier League game, which is the most important one for us at the moment.”
City return to Premier League action on December 28 with a trip to Leeds United. They currently sit five points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, but the gap could grow to eight by the time they kick off at Elland Road.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are already out of the title race and at risk of finishing outside the top four. The Carabao Cup had offered a chance of silverware and the opportunity to build momentum in a difficult season, but attentions will now turn elsewhere – much to the frustration of defender Andy Robertson.
“There were positives, creating chances, sometimes we looked good on the ball but there were mistakes as well,” Robertson told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It’s our first game back in a long time and it’s not often your first game back is against Manchester City.
“We wanted to stay in this cup, we know how much joy it brought us last season. Ultimately disappointing but when we look at the clips we will be able to take positives.”
Robertson admitted City’s dressing room will be “a lot happier” than Liverpool’s after the result, even if this competition isn’t their main focus. City were eliminated at this stage of the competition in the 2021-22 season, while a penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in the final gave Liverpool their first of two domestic cup wins.
Jurgen Klopp’s team will return to action on Boxing Day with a Premier League match against Aston Villa. Victory would be enough to take the Reds within a point of Manchester United in fifth, with Erik ten Hag’s men due to face Nottingham Forest on December 27.