Aston Villa v Liverpool: Carabao Cup quarter-final blog
The youngest Liverpool team in history bowed out of the Carabao Cup with a 5-0 defeat at Aston Villa in the quarter-finals.
The hosts scored four times in the first half before adding a fifth in stoppage time at Villa Park.
Neil Critchley's reaction
The Reds' boss for the night said he was 'incredibly proud' of his young side's performance at Villa Park.
Click here to read Critchley's post-match reaction in full.
Villa 5-0 Liverpool
There goes to full-time whistle and Liverpool’s Carabao Cup campaign is brought to a close at the quarter-final stage.
The youngest ever Reds team - the starting line-up had an average age of just 19 years and 182 days and included five debutants - acquitted themselves admirably throughout against experienced Premier League opposition.
Indeed, Neil Critchley’s team were unfortunate to go behind after a superb opening 10 minutes but were then undone by a flurry of Villa goals before half-time.
A spirited second-half performance from Liverpool saw them create a few decent chances before Wesley added a fifth in stoppage time.
Wesley adds a fifth in stoppage time.
We're into two minutes added time.
Elliott's cushioned lay-off finds Gallacher, who sees his shot parried by Nyland. Clarkson gets to the loose ball, but Nyland is there to save again.
A third and final sub for the Reds sees Norris replace Hoever, who appeared to be struggling with cramp.
A second change for Liverpool - Clarkson comes on for Christie-Davies.
Kelleher beats away a powerful attempt by Lansbury.
Kane drills a shot wide from distance and Hoever's cross then just goes over Hill at the back post as the young Reds seek a goal their spirited performance deserves.
Great save, Caoimhin!
Trezeguet bursts clear down the left and shoots across Kelleher, but the 'keeper gets his foot to it.
Lovely football again from Liverpool, as Elliott and Bearne play a nice one-two and Elliott finds Kane with a clipped cross.
The midfielder's header is saved by Nyland, though.
A first sub for Liverpool, with Bearne on in place of Longstaff.
Trezeguet bends a shot on target after a free-kick is partially cleared, but Kelleher gathers it well.
Seconds later, the Egyptian bursts through and directs a shot past Kelleher, but Van den Berg gets back to coolly clear off the line.
So close to a Liverpool goal!
Gallacher's shot is mis-hit and finds Kane free around eight yards out. The midfielder directs the ball goalwards, but Nyland produces a stunning reaction save to tip it over.
Liverpool restart the game.
Villa 4-0 Liverpool
There goes the half-time whistle and the young Reds are unfortunate to be four goals down at Villa Park.
Liverpool dominated the opening 10 minutes or so and could have been ahead before Hourihane whipped in a free-kick that beat everyone and ended up in the net.
Elmohamady then increased the hosts’ lead in the 18th minute when his intended cross took a nick off Boyes, looped over Kelleher and nestled into the far corner.
Kodjia then raced through the middle and slotted in a third late in the half, before the striker finished off a cross just before the break.
Kodjia finishes Elmohamady's low cross to make it four on the stroke of half-time.
A third for Villa, with Kodjia racing onto a flick from deep and finishing past Kelleher.
Super football from Liverpool!
Kane sprays it out to Elliott, who lifts a neat pass inside the Christie-Davies. The midfielder hooks a volley goalwards, but Nyland turns it wide.
Elmohamady quickly doubles Villa's lead as his intended cross from the right loops over Kelleher and into the far corner.
Hourihane gives Villa the lead.
The midfielder sends in another free-kick, this time an inswinger from the right, which evades everyone and beats Kelleher.
That's really harsh on the young Reds, who dominated the opening 10 minutes or so.
A first real attack from Villa sees them win a free-kick down the left, which Hourihane whips in.
Kelleher gets to it first to punch clear.
Liverpool go close twice!
Elliott glides in from the right wing and shoots powerfully, but Nyland turns it behind for a corner.
The Reds then keep the ball alive and Kane's effort from close range is saved by the 'keeper, before Elliott blasts into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Great pressing from Longstaff and Hill forces Villa's 'keeper to pass straight to Christie-Davies.
He plays it to Kane, who shoots over the bar with his left foot.
Fantastic stuff from Liverpool.
Lovely football from the young Reds works an opening for Longstaff via a clever flick from Elliott, but the No.75 is called offside as he shoots.
Liverpool have started well here - the youngsters are certainly not looking overawed by the occasion in the early stages
And we're off - Villa get us started.
The teams are out and we're very close to getting under way.
Kick-off is just a few minutes away and the away end are making themselves heard here at Villa Park.
The lads survey the scene...
Inside the away dressing room...
Tony Gallacher, Isaac Christie-Davies, Luis Longstaff, Morgan Boyes and Thomas Hill make their senior Liverpool debuts in tonight’s tie.
Pedro Chirivella is Reds captain.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Hoever, Boyes, Van den Berg, Gallacher, Chirivella, Christie-Davies, Kane, Longstaff, Hill, Elliott.
Substitutes: Winterbottom, Clayton, Dixon-Bonner, Bearne, Clarkson, Norris, Stewart.
'Liverpool are going to be a real threat'
So writes Villa boss Dean Smith in his programme notes...
"We know that it’s going to be a changed side from the one we faced here in November, but I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club who is with us this evening," Smith states.
"They’ve set the tone for everyone in the Premier League this season and even though the squad has been split between this tie and the Club World Cup in Qatar, we’re under no illusions that they are going to be a real threat regardless of who plays this evening – they proved that against Arsenal earlier on in this competition."
A cool, crisp December evening at Villa Park...
This will be the fourth occasion that Liverpool have played at Villa Park in the League Cup. They won each of the previous three, including a final replay against West Ham United in 1981.
The last eight
The other three Carabao Cup quarter-finals will be played on Wednesday night...
Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella could be an experienced presence in the centre of the pitch this evening and the 22-year-old is looking forward to the opportunity.
"We've been talking about it for a long time," he said.
"We have a chance of playing and everyone is very excited - you can see that around training and around games. Finally the day has come and we are looking forward to it.
"Football is football and if we are playing for Liverpool it is because we are capable of playing football so it should be a great night for everyone."
The story so far..
An assured away win at MK Dons and a ridiculous thriller with Arsenal - won on penalties - brought the Reds to the last eight. Relive those two games in our highlights packages below...
Klopp keeping an eye
It will be coming up to 11pm local time in Qatar when the encounter at Villa Park gets under way but Klopp will be watching - and supporting - from afar.
"We start with watching the other [Club World Cup] semi-final live in the stadium, I think it should be possible. And then we will leave there a bit earlier and sit here in front of the television and watch that game," the boss told us on Monday.
"It will be absolutely exciting. I'm really delighted for the boys.
"I know how a lot of people in the public see it, but if all the football games would be decided before we start, only because of the perception of the people, then most of the games wouldn't be played. I believe, I'm a big believer in everybody has a chance.
"From the boys' point of view, if I would be in their boots I would be excited like hell, looking forward to it like hell, run for my life, all that stuff."
With Jürgen Klopp and the first-team squad out in Qatar to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup this week, U23s boss Neil Critchley will take charge of the Reds side for this clash.
He spoke to the media at Melwood yesterday - and you can catch up with his pre-match thoughts below...
Welcome to our live matchday blog for Liverpool's Carabao Cup quarter-final tie with Aston Villa this evening.
We'll be bringing you all of the build-up, action and reaction from Villa Park as a youthful Reds side takes on Premier League opposition.