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Liverpool 2- Leeds 0: The Kids Are Alright

Liverpool Leeds English League Cup
Liverpool's Welsh striker Ben Woodburn (L) scores his team's second goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 29, 2016. Liverpool won the match 2-0. / AFP / Paul ELLIS

Liverpool is into the semifinals of the English Football League Cup for the 17th time in the club’s history following a 2-0 victory over Leeds United.

Jurgen Klopp made eight changes to the side that defeated Sunderland at the weekend and his young guns repaid their coach’s faith for their selections in such a highly charged match.

18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold assisted on the opening goal and Ben Woodburn became Liverpool’s youngest ever scorer at 17-years 145-days, eclipsing Michael Owen’s record by 100 days.

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In truth, it was the late late show for Liverpool, as Leeds started the brighter of the two sides.

Despite, conceding the majority of possession, the visitors fashioned the first two chances of the match.

Leeds should have been ahead after just three minutes. Stuart Dallas played a long ball over the back-line. Hadi Sacko outwitted the offside trap and fired low but Simon Mignolet was quick off his line to save with his feet.

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In the 11th minute, Kemar Roofe let one fly from distance, but Mignolet saved at full stretch.

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Just a minute later and Liverpool threatened. It was the kind of chance that personified everything that Klopp demands from his side.

Liverpool’s high press forced a turnover 40 yards from goal. Ovie Ejaria quickly drilled a pass into the box for Georginio Wijnaldum who made proper contact, forcing an excellent flying save from Marco Silvestri in the Leeds’ goal.

The home side should have taken the lead just after the half hour mark, but Emre Can could only poke wide after getting on the end of a horrid back pass for Silvestri.

Kalvin Phillips had previously replaced Eunan O’Kane who went off injured in the 28th minute.

The substitute had the last real chance of the first 45 when his deflected shot from outside the box left Mignolet rooted to his line, but the ball drifted wide of the post.

The halftime whistle put an end to an underwhelming first half that did little to match the backdrop of the electrifying Anfield atmosphere, carried mostly by the visiting Leeds supporters.

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Encouraged by the thunderous support of the five-and-a-half-thousand traveling fans, Leeds had the better of the chances in the beginning of the second half.

Liverpool also got forward, but the Championship side did really well to get numbers behind the ball, closing down most of the avenues to goal.

The visitors almost capitalized on some sloppy defending as Kevin Stewart conceded possession at the top of the box, the ball fell for Roofe who curled the ball brilliantly over Mignolet, but saw his effort cannon off the inside of the far post.

Kyle Bartley should have given the visitors the lead after the hour mark. The center back was left unmarked on a corner, but could only manage to direct his free header wide of the Liverpool goal.

Roofe then found space at the top of the box, but the reigning League Two Player of the Year’s powerful drive was angled right at Mignolet.

Liverpool’s first real guilt-edged chance of the second half didn’t come until the 72nd minute. Wijnaldum was played into the box by Sadio Mane, but saw his inside the foot effort rebound off the far post.

It was a passage of play that seemingly began to turn the tide in the Reds’ favor.

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Liverpool went ahead four minutes later courtesy of Divock Origi who slid home Alexander-Arnold’s beautifully placed cross.

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The 18-year-old picked up his head and, from a deep position on the right, curled in a perfectly weighted ball. It landed just inside the near corner of the six-yard box, freezing the goalkeeper on his line and requiring nothing more than a touch from Origi to redirect it into the net.

The goal-scorer then looked like he was going to have to come off as Origi pulled up lame in the 79th minute. After a brief delay, the Belgian stayed on and played a major part in a piece of Liverpool history.

In the 81st, Origi constructed a beautiful move, combining to get free down the right before fizzing a cross into the middle. Wijnaldum collected the ball and helped it onto Woodburn at the back-post. The Welsh teenager smashed it into the roof of the net to become the fabled club’s youngest ever scorer.

Sacko could have made it a nervy finale five minutes from time. The Frenchman played a nice one-two on the right to get behind the Liverpool defense, but blazed his shot over the bar meaning the glory belonged to Liverpool on a night when the youngsters came to the fore.

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