Liverpool 3-1 Leicester: Szoboszlai’s stunner helps Liverpool hit back to beat Leicester
Getty: Matt McNulty

This was some way to win a cup tie. A precise shot on the turn, a 20-yard drive in off the crossbar and a cute back-heel flick into the bottom corner. No wonder the Kop went home happy.

Liverpool had to work for their passage into the League Cup fourth round, particularly after being stunned when Kasey McAteer fired Leicester City into a third-minute lead, but there was a certain finesse to their latest comeback.

The home team’s pressure told in the second half as Cody Gakpo levelled before Dominik Szoboszlai came off the bench to strike an unstoppable shot in the 70th minute. Diogo Jota added a third in the 89th minute with a deft touch meaning Liverpool have now triumphed 3-1 in their last four games in all competitions.

Story of the game

Leicester had led 2-0 in this competition at Anfield in 2021 before Liverpool knocked them out on the way to winning the trophy — and they gave Anfield a scare again this time. Enzo Maresca’s Championship table-toppers played some high-risk football, which was all the more perilous given the blustery conditions.

Getty: Andrew Powell
Getty: Andrew Powell

Some controversy surrounded the visitors' early breakthrough. Kostas Tsimikas, one of 10 Liverpool changes, saw a free-kick cleared but the left back was bundled over by Marc Albrighton as Leicester broke. Yunus Akgun raced clear before slipping the perfect ball to McAteer, who had time to pick a spot for his fifth goal of the season.

There is no VAR until the semi-finals and Liverpool were left to rue its absence again when James Justin caught Ben Doak with a clumsy challenge in the Leicester penalty area. Referee Tim Robinson waved away the home team’s appeals.

Leicester, also fielding a much-changed side, stayed true to their style but were starting to be put under pressure. Doak struck the crossbar after Jakub Stolarczyk could only parry Jarell Quansah’s shot. Then Conor Coady, making his Leicester debut against his boyhood club, scrambled Gakpo’s header off the line.

Liverpool trailed at the break despite having 15 shots to Leicester’s two but needed only three minutes of the second half to level. Ryan Gravenberch, making his first Anfield start, found Gakpo inside the visitors’ area. The Netherlands international turned sharply to beat Stolarczyk with a precise finish.

Gakpo should have had a second when his header from a Harvey Elliott cross hit the underside of the crossbar — but Liverpool were certainly on top now, and the introduction of Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez strengthened the hosts’ hold on the tie.

Within five minutes of his introduction, Szoboszlai collected Wataru Endo’s pass and unleashed a superb shot from the edge of the D that went in off the crossbar.

Getty: Matt McNulty
Getty: Matt McNulty

Quansah and Ibrahima Konate repelled Leicester on the break before Jota sealed the victory, and a meeting with Bournemouth in the next round, by flicking in Quansah’s low cross with a back-heel.

Player of the match: Szoboszlai

The Hungary international came off the bench and lit up Anfield with a wonderous strike from outside the penalty area.

Klopp praised his £60m summer recruit afterwards, saying: "It was a super goal. Since the first minute of [pre-season] training he was pretty impressive.

"He is a really top guy, he is a naturally confident boy and that helps him step into the team and the dressing room but he is a super hard worker. That is important.

"He enjoys being here a lot and people appreciate him. Long may it continue."