Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for tonight's EFL Cup
fourth round clash between Liverpool
and Arsenal at Anfield!
The hosts come into this match sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table and, the Community Shield aside, without defeat on English soil since January. The Reds dispatched of Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend and will now be looking to make it a North London double-header with a second victory at home to Arsenal already this term.
The Gunners, meanwhile, have been in inconsistent form so far this season and will hope that this cup tie distracts from Sunday's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace which saw them blow a two-goal lead, have a late winner disallowed by VAR and club captain Granit Xhaka seemingly swear at his own supporters.
We have just five minutes until kickoff, so let's have a quick look at the teams before we get started!
LIVERPOOL STARTING XI:
Kelleher; Williams, Gomez, Van den Berg, Milner; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Keita; Elliott, Origi, Brewster
SUBS: Adrian, Jones, Kane, Koumetio, Chirivella, Clarkson, Larouci
ARSENAL STARTING XI:
Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Torreira, Willock; Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Saka; Martinelli
SUBS: Tierney, Ceballos, Lacazette, Pepe, Sokratis, Macey, Guendouzi
KICKOFF: Here we go! Anfield belts out 'You'll Never Walk Alone' as Arsenal get us underway!
Liverpool have seen most of the ball in these opening exchanges, but Ozil tries to release Saka for the first time here. Gomez gets across to put in a good challenge on the Arsenal winger, though.
SHOT! The first shooting chance of the game falls to Liverpool's Harvey Elliott, who tries to bend it into the top corner from the right side of the area. It is the right idea, but he puts it high and wide of the target.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-0 ARSENAL (SHKODRAN MUSTAFI, OWN GOAL)
Liverpool have the early breakthrough, and it is a nightmare for Shkodran Mustafi
- not for the first time in an Arsenal shirt!
The German has barely been used this season and he certainly hasn't taken his chance here, going to ground when he doesn't need to and trying to clear an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross with his wrong foot. He gets that all wrong, only succeeding in clipping the ball against his own knee and sending it beyond his own keeper.
That is an absolute howler!
Arsenal could have defended the build-up play better, with Oxlade-Chamberlain escaping far too easily down the right, but the bulk of the blame lies heavily on Mustafi's shoulders there. He has complained at being made a scapegoat in the past, but he only has himself to blame there.
Liverpool have seen the lion's share of possession in this one so far, making a really confident start despite the youth in their team. They look capable of getting more here.
CHANCE! Chance for Liverpool to double their advantage as Lallana scoops a pass over the top of the defence, although three Arsenal men seemed to crowd under it rather than chasing it back. That leaves Oxlade-Chamberlain to dart in behind, but his touch lets him down and Martinez is able to collect.
A bit better from Arsenal as Saka skips past one and advances down the left flank, but his low ball into the box is well cut out by Gomez.
Arsenal have just started to grow into the game a little bit more in the last five minutes or so, and their speedy attackers do look capable of causing problems tonight. Liverpool still have the overall control over this one, though.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-1 ARSENAL (LUCAS TORREIRA)
Arsenal have the equaliser and it is Torreira who scores at Anfield for the second time this season!
It comes at the end of the visitors' best move of the game, with Martinelli keeping the ball alive inside the box and Liverpool failing to deal with some sustained pressure inside their area. In the end Kelleher makes a good stop to deny Saka, but he palms it straight back out into a dangerous area and Torreira is left with a simple finish.
Bring back VAR! The video assistant is not being used in the EFL Cup, but if it had been then that goal would not have stood - Torreira was offside when Saka had his initial shot.
The Arsenal fans voice their support for Ozil with a loud chant of his name - the German has not always been a favourite of the supporters but many of them want to see him used more often than he has been this season!
YELLOW CARD! Brewster picks up a yellow card for blocking Martinez's goal kick - a harsh one for the youngster.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-2 ARSENAL (GABRIEL MARTINELLI)
Arsenal have turned this one around! Martinelli adds to his brace from the last round with a real poacher's effort, although once again the Liverpool keeper will feel he should have done better.
Indeed, the defence as a whole should have done more - they were slow to react to a quick free kick and then Maitland-Niles skipped past Origi far too easily to reach the byline. His low cross into the box is turned towards his own goal by Van den Berg, and Keller again pushes it right back into the danger zone where Martinelli is waiting to smash it into the roof of the net!
There are more goals in this one, mark my words! Both sides now look capable of scoring whenever they come forward, but Arsenal deserve credit for the way they have fought their way back into this match after a nightmare start.
The ball drops to Keita on the edge of the box, but he blazes his effort a long, long way over the crossbar.
SAVE! Liverpool's first shot on target of the night arrives after half an hour as Origi and Elliott link up on the right before Brewster meets the subsequent cross, forcing Martinez into the save.
Just over 10 minutes remaining of this first half now and Arsenal will be beginning to look at the halfway mark as a landmark to reach with this lead intact. Liverpool have seen more of the ball, but Arsenal have been clinical and will be pretty content with how this first half has gone so far.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-3 ARSENAL (GABRIEL MARTINELLI)
Forget about holding onto their lead - Arsenal have gone and increased it!
It is poor from Elliott as he gives the ball away in a dangerous area, and Ozil immediately releases Saka with a cute pass down the channel. Saka then plays a perfectly-weighted ball across goal, where Martinelli is waiting completely unmarked to apply the finish - his second of the night!
Liverpool have been all over the place defensively at times tonight, and again here as Maitland-Niles breaks into the box and wins another corner. Suddenly it is Arsenal who look like scoring every time they come forward now and Liverpool are the team hanging on for half time!
Painful one for Willock here as he appears to twist his knee when getting back to cross a block. It looks like he will soldier on, though, and that was good work from the youngster.
PENALTY APPEAL! Liverpool want a penalty as Keita smashes the ball against Bellerin's hand. There is no doubt that there is contact with the hand, and it was in a slightly unnatural position, but it was very close. It would have been interesting to see how VAR would have ruled that!
PENALTY! This time it is a penalty for Liverpool as Elliott goes down under Martinelli's challenge!
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 2-3 ARSENAL (JAMES MILNER, PENALTY)
Liverpool are right back in this one again! Milner sends the keeper the wrong way and tucks his penalty into the bottom corner with minimum fuss.
The penalty itself is debatable, with Elliott going down under minimal contact from Martinelli, but you can see why the referee gave it for sure. Another one which would have been interesting with VAR!
YELLOW CARD! Lallana goes into the book for a cynical challenge from behind on Maitland-Niles.
SHOT! Torreira lines up the resulting free kick but curls his effort a couple of yards over the bar. It looked like a better one for Ozil there!
There will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
CHANCE! Big chance for Martinelli to complete his hat-trick before half time! Torreira's half-volley deflects up into the air and drops for Martinelli, but he gets his header all wrong and Kelleher gathers gratefully.
CHANCE! Liverpool go straight up the other end and have a golden chance of their own to level things up right at the end of the half! Elliott advances down the left flank and clips a cross into the box which Origi meets, but he puts his header over when he really should have done better!
HALF TIME: LIVERPOOL 2-3 ARSENAL
Wow! An action-packed first half comes to an end at Anfield, and that one absolutely flew by.
We have seen five goals already and, the way this one is going and the history of this fixture - particularly in cup competitions - we can expect plenty more in the second half too. It has been entertaining, breathless, frenetic and error-strewn so far, and that is making for a great spectacle!
Arsenal may have been fearing the worst when Mustafi scored an own goal in calamitous fashion after only eight minutes, but they stormed back with goals from Torreira and Martinelli (2) to take a 3-1 lead.
Martinelli then turned from hero to villain when he gave away a penalty for a foul on Elliott, though, and Milner tucked away the spot kick to leave just one goal in it at half time.
While it has been an exciting watch, both managers will be unhappy with the number of mistakes their sides have made.
All five of the goals have been avoidable and stemmed from a mistake of some kind, and it is those defensive lapse - rather than any particularly great attacking play - which has resulted in so many goals at the halfways stage.
KICKOFF: Liverpool get us back underway at Anfield! More of the same please!
SHOT! Poor again from Mustafi as he loses a race against Brewster despite having a few yards advantage. He does just about enough to prevent Brewster getting a clear run at goal and the striker exchanges passes with Oxlade-Chamberlain before dragging a shot wide of the near post.
There are no signs that the relentless pace of this match will let up in the second half! Both sides are still attacking at will and looking shaky at the back too.
SHOT! A slip in midfield gifts Arsenal the ball inside the Liverpool half and Saka tries his luck from range, but the shot flies well over.
UPDATE: There are two other matches taking place in this competition tonight, and both have seen goals too. Aston Villa lead Wolves through Anwar El Ghazi, while Marcus Rashford has given Manchester United the lead against Chelsea.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 2-4 ARSENAL (AINSLEY MAITLAND-NILES)
Arsenal restore their two-goal lead, and it is another mistake which leads to it! This time it is from one of the most experienced men on the field, though, as Milner sells Kelleher short with a poor back-pass!
Maitland-Niles nips in to beat the keeper to the ball, but still needs Ozil to keep it in play with a lovely flick back into his path. Maitland-Niles is then left with a simple finish as Arsenal get a fourth!
Change for Liverpool as Curtis Jones
SHOT! Liverpool play a short free kick from Milner to Elliott, who tries to curl his effort into the top corner but again gets it wrong.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 3-4 ARSENAL (ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN)
What a goal! What a game!
Liverpool are back in it again here as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores a stunner against his former club! The midfielder steals in to win the ball around 25 yards from goal before unleashing a stunning half-volley which flies past Martinez and slams into the back of the net!
Just half an hour left in this match now, and I'm sure no-one wants it to end right now! Cup matches between these two always seem to produce thrillers!
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 4-4 ARSENAL (DIVOCK ORIGI)
GOAL! Incredible! This one is turning into a modern-day classic as Origi collects the pass from Jones before turning his man with a lovely touch and blasting his effort past Martinez. The keeper got a hand to the ball, but there was simply too much power behind the strike!
YELLOW CARD! Willock is the latest name in the referee's notebook.
ARSENAL SUB: Arsenal make their first change of the night and it is an interesting one - Ozil is replaced by Matteo Guendouzi. That doesn't exactly strike me as an attacking change with a view to winning this game.
CHANCE! Big chance for Arsenal to take the lead again in this topsy-turvy tie! The ball is pulled back to Martinelli and he is in space around seven yards from goal, but he blazes the ball a long way over the crossbar when he should have scored! Another hat-trick chance goes begging!
And all in the past week too!
SAVE! Elliott feeds the ball into the feet of Williams, who manages to work a yard but then doesn't catch his effort right as Martinez makes a comfortable save.
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 4-5 ARSENAL (JOE WILLOCK)
Ohhhh myyy woorrddd! This game just gets better and better and better!
Joe Willock has just pulled another worldie out of the top draw to put Arsenal back ahead just when it looked as though they had lost all momentum! Willock drives forward through midfield before unleashing a stunning strike which flies into the top corner! Nothing Kelleher could do about that one!
Another change for the Gunners here as Dani Ceballos
Liverpool have to do it all over again now, but you certainly would not put it past them. In fact, with 15 minutes still to go this one could still end 7-7 the way it is going!
Martinelli goes charging forward before going down under a mixture of Van den Berg and Lallana, the latter of whom is already on a yellow card, of course.
YELLOW CARD! Speaking of yellow cards, Kolasinac goes into the book for a clumsy challenge on Brewster.
It is still an open and frenetic game, and tiredness is beginning to show in both teams. It could be that the greater experience on the Arsenal defence helps them see this one out, though.
LIVERPOOL SUB: Another switch for Liverpool as Pedro Chirivella comes on fo Oxlade-Chamberlain.
ARSENAL SUB: A third and final change for Arsenal sees Kieran Tierney replace Kolasinac.
YELLOW CARD! Saka becomes the latest player to be shown a yellow for a cynical challenge on Brewster.
This is the lowest priority competition for both clubs, of course, and they have both made 11 changes apiece for this match, but this will be a big win for Arsenal. Liverpool have not lost here for 27 games - a run stretching 13 months - but they have only three minutes plus stoppage time to save that now.
CHANCE! Chance for Liverpool as Brewster fluffs a free header when unmarked in the area! The ball then drops to Jones, but he cannot create a chance despite having two bites at the cherry inside the area.
There will be FIVE minutes of added time at the end of this match!
Arsenal are taking as much time as possible over every restart now, as you would expect, and they are doing a good job of seeing this one out now. Liverpool are seriously running out of time!
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 5-5 ARSENAL (DIVOCK ORIGI)
GOAL! LIVERPOOL 5-5 ARSENAL (DIVOCK ORIGI)
Never say never in this game! Incredible scenes at Anfield as Origi scores a 94th-minute acrobatic scissor kick to surely rescue penalties for the hosts!
What. A. Game!
END OF 90 MINUTES: LIVERPOOL 5-5 ARSENAL
END OF 90 MINUTES: As if we haven't had enough drama tonight - we go to penalties!
GOAL! ARSENAL 1-0* LIVERPOOL! HECTOR BELLERIN SCORES! Stunning from Bellerin as he picks out the top corner!
GOAL! ARSENAL *1-1 LIVERPOOL! JAMES MILNER SCORES! For the second time tonight, Milner sends the keeper the wrong way from the spot!
GOAL! ARSENAL 2-1* LIVERPOOL! MATTEO GUENDOUZI SCORES! Guendouzi sneaks it into the bottom corner despite Kelleher guessing the right way!
GOAL! ARSENAL *2-2 LIVERPOOL! ADAM LALLANA SCORES! No mistake from Lallana as he picks out the top corner!
GOAL! ARSENAL 3-2* LIVERPOOL! MARTINELLI SCORES! Another top-quality penalty as Martinelli finds the corner.
GOAL! ARSENAL *3-3 LIVERPOOL! BREWSTER SCORES! Brewster keeps up the 100% record in this shootout!
SAVE! ARSENAL 3-3* LIVERPOOL! DANI CEBALLOS MISSES! Big save from Kellehan as he denies Ceballos from the spot!
GOAL! ARSENAL *3-4 LIVERPOOL! DIVOCK ORIGI SCORES! Origi tucks his penalty home to give Liverpool the advantage!
GOAL! ARSENAL 4-4* LIVERPOOL! MAITLAND-NILES SCORES! Cool as you like from Maitland-Niles as he strolls up and puts it past Kelleher!
GOAL! ARSENAL 4-5 LIVERPOOL! CURTIS JONES SCORES! Jones keeps his nerve to tuck the winning penalty home in front of the Kop!
FULL TIME: LIVERPOOL 5-5 ARSENAL (LIVERPOOL WIN 5-4 ON PENALTIES)
FULL TIME: LIVERPOOL PROGRESS TO THE QUARTER-FINALS OF THE EFL CUP!
Incredible. Just incredible. You probably will not see a better game than that all season, at least in terms of entertainment.
Sure there were mistakes galore and the defending left a lot to be desired, but it was non-stop action and we were treated to 10 goals inside normal time tonight - some of them screamers and one of their a 94th-minute equaliser.
The shootout itself was lower-scoring than the game, but Curtis Jones scored the winning spot kick after Dani Ceballos's miss to send Liverpool into the EFL Cup quarter-finals!
Right, I'm off for a lie down!
Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for a truly remarkable night of football as Liverpool beat Arsenal on penalties to reach the EFL Cup quarter-finals following a 5-5 draw in normal time. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.
From me, though, it is goodbye for now!