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    Origi, Woodburn Lift Liverpool into Semifinals of EFL Cup

    Liverpool's Divock Origi battles with Leeds' Charlie Taylor
                               

    Liverpool F.C. stamped their place into the semifinals of the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening after a 2-0 victory over Championship-side Leeds United at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp's men were coming off a 2-0 victory against Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday to remain in second place. Leeds, who sit in fifth place in the Championship table, came into the match after a 2-1 road win at Rotherham.

    Klopp's starting eleven featured the likes of two teenagers, 19 year-old midfielder Oviemuno Ejaria and 18 year-old defender Trent Alex-Arnold. Divock Origi led the attacking front, while Georgino Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane also posed threats as attackers. Lucas partnered with Ragnar Klavan in defense, while Alberto Moreno and Emre Can rounded out the line-up. Without the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Adam Lallana all due to injury, Klopp rotated his squad like in previous rounds.

    Garry Monk started a 4-2-3-1 formation with Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas, French U-20 international Hadi Sacko, and Souleymane Doukara all posing threats in attack. Liam Cooper and Kyle Bartley started as the centerback duo, while Ronaldo Vieira, Gaetano Berardi, and Charlier Taylor also featured. Leading scorer Chris Wood started the match on the bench.

    Leeds started the match on the front-foot forcing two early saves from Simon Mignolet off the feet of Sacko and Kemar Roofe. Wijnaldum struck to the top-right corner after 12 minutes, but Marco Silvestri palmed away the effort.

    Monk was forced to make his first substitution near the half-hour mark as Eunan O'Kane was replaced by Kalvin Phillips. However, the teams went into the halftime break deadlocked at 0-0.

    Roofe was inches to giving Leeds a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the second half, but saw his right-footed effort go off the right post. The 23 year-old also saw his deft header barely miss, before forcing Mignolet into another save.

    Wijnaldum was next to hit the post, this time right-footing a Mane through-ball past Silvestri and onto the left post. The breakthrough for Liverpool came in the 76th minute when Origi tapped home a gorgeous cross from Alex-Arnold past Silvestri. It was the Belgian's third goal of the competition, and his fourth in all comps.

    17 year-old substitute Ben Woodburn smashed home Liverpool's insurance goal five minutes later following a loose-ball in the box. The Welsh teenager sent the Kop into ecstasy after calmly scoring into the roof of the net. Woodburn became the youngest goalscorer in Liverpool history, surpassing Michael Owen's previous record by 100 days.

    Wood, who came on just after the hour mark looked to have earned a late consolation for Leeds but was called off-sides. The Australian found himself open for a header, but was unable to head it past Mignolet who saved with sure hands. Origi, earned a late yellow-card which was his last contribution in the match, after being replaced by Marko Grujic.

    At the final whistle, Liverpool had their fourth consecutive victory in the competition to advance to the semifinals for a record 17th time.. Out-possessing the second-division side 72%-28% was expected, but Leeds made things tough for Klopp's squad through the opening hour.

    Even though, they did not advance Leeds showed promise for a side who has been out of the Premier League for 13 years. About 5,500 traveling fans attended the match to a capacity crowd of 53,000. With four wins in their last five league fixtures, Garry Monk definitely has Leeds on the right path to possible promotion.

    Liverpool were able to carry their Premier League dominance over to the cup competition, which is merely a second-thought for Klopp at the moment. A surprise dominant start in the EPL has Liverpool fans dreaming of a league title and Champions League qualification. With the likes of Premier League counterparts Manchester United, West Ham, Arsenal, and Southampton all remaining in the competition, the Reds know they were given a good draw in the quarterfinals compared to others.

    Klopp and his side will know their next-round opponent Wednesday evening following the other two quarterfinals matches, while Leeds focus on league-action. Liverpool will travel to 12th-placed Bournemouth next in the Premier League on Sunday sitting a point behind leaders Chelsea. Leeds entertain a resurgent Aston Villa at Elland Road on Saturday looking to make it five league victories out of their last six.








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    Item Reviewed: Origi, Woodburn Lift Liverpool into Semifinals of EFL Cup Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Larry Henry Jr
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