Match reportDarwin Nunez stunner sends Liverpool into Carabao Cup quarters
Darwin Nunez’s stunning strike sent Liverpool into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup as they beat AFC Bournemouth 2-1 at Vitality Stadium.
The Uruguayan came off the bench to net the winning goal with 20 minutes remaining on Wednesday night, after Cody Gakpo’s first-half effort had been cancelled out by Justin Kluivert on the south coast.
The Reds have now won each of their four games in all competitions since the international break and reach the League Cup quarter-finals for the fifth time under Jürgen Klopp.
Klopp made eight changes from the side that had beaten Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday, with only Kostas Tsimikas, Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah retained in the XI from that game.
Salah captained a side that included the likes of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Wataru Endo, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott, with Gakpo making his first start since the defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on September 30.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Tsimikas, Endo (Alexander-Arnold, 61), Elliott (Mac Allister, 61), Jones (Nunez, 61), Szoboszlai (Gravenberch, 75), Salah, Gakpo (Jota, 83).
Unused subs: Adrian, Van Dijk, Konate, Scanlon.
It was Bournemouth who had the first real sight of goal, with Caoimhin Kelleher saving superbly from Kluivert after the Dutchman had pinched the ball off Szoboszlai.
Elliott had the Reds’ first big chance, but saw his effort saved by Andrei Radu after good work from Szoboszlai down the right. Szoboszlai then dragged a shot off target as the visitors looked to assert their authority.
They went ahead on 31 minutes as Szoboszlai’s corner reached Elliott, whose fizzed hit was finished off at the second attempt by Gakpo, after Radu had saved his initial shot.
Szoboszlai fired a drive inches wide soon after, while Kelleher denied Antoine Semenyo at the other end as Liverpool went into the break ahead.
After the interval, Alex Scott shot off target from distance, while Gomez was in the right place to head off the line as Scott’s whipped corner almost crept in at the far post.
Salah was within a whisker of making it 2-0 as he headed Elliott’s cross wide on the hour mark, but Klopp’s men were fortunate not to concede moments later as Semenyo slashed a good chance wide of the near post.
Bournemouth substitute Marcus Tavernier drew a good save from Kelleher with a swerving 30-yard strike and from the resulting corner the home side levelled, with Kluivert heading Scott’s deep delivery in at the far post.
The Reds, though, were back ahead within six minutes, to secure the spot in the last eight.
Substitute Nunez unleashed a quite stunning strike that dipped into the top corner from the left edge of the penalty area after being played in by another replacement, Trent Alexander-Arnold.