A brace from Daniel Sturridge ensured a much-changed Liverpool side beat an inexperienced Tottenham team 2-1 at Anfield on Tuesday night in the EFL Cup.
Liverpool made 11 changes from the side that played over the weekend against West Brom while Mauricio Pochettino also drastically changed his XI with only Eric Dier surviving from their Saturday draw with Bournemouth.
For all the changes it was an experienced head in Sturridge that gave Liverpool the perfect start.
The Englishman beat Michel Vorm to Marko Grujic’s deflected cross in the ninth minute after the Serbian pounced on a slip from Tottenham youngster Georges-Kevin N’Koudou.
Liverpool then should have been two up if only Sturridge had not been so relaxed about beating Vorm for a second time.
Divock Origi danced through the Tottenham defence before somehow getting the ball to Sturridge, but he could not finish past the goalkeeper.
Simon Mignolet, restored to the starting line-up after playing second fiddle to Loris Karius in recent weeks, then reminded Jurgen Klopp of his qualities when he got low to push away Vincent Janssen’s shot.
Kevin Trippier kept on the pressure as he recycled the ball back into the danger area before Nkoudou’s shot was blocked by a Liverpool body.
Liverpool had precious little of the ball for the remainder of the half, but Spurs did very little with it and the referee’s whistle drew to a close a rather drab first half aside from Sturridge’s opener.
The home side might have gotten a talking to from Klopp in the dressing room, because they came out revitalised and laid siege on Tottenham’s goal.
More excellent work from Origi on the wing meant Sturridge only had to make contact in front of an open goal, but somehow the striker missed.
A brilliant effort from Origi drew an excellent save from Vorm before Georginio Wijnaldum set Sturridge free down the middle with a perfectly timed pass.
The flag stayed down and Sturridge finished coolly passed the goalkeeper to make it two with 25 minutes to play.
Just when it seemed the game was fizzling out, substitute Erik Lamela handed Spurs a lifeline when he drew a foul from Lucas Leiva in the box.
Jonathan Moss was in no doubt as he pointed straight to the spot and Janssen stepped up to take and dispatch the penalty.
And with that the game came alive as a second penalty shout from Tottenham was waved away by the referee when Alberto Moreno brought down Lamela.
Sturridge was then inches away from completing his hat-trick as his deflected lob struck the bar and fizzed away from Danny Ings.
Lamela’s introduction had rejuvenated Tottenham and he continued to carve open chances for his side in a bid to drag his team back onto level terms.
One such chance created by the attacker went begging though when he picked out Shayon Harrison in acres of space in the box, but the youngster’s touch took it away from him and into Mignolet’s gloves.
Ings, back from an almost year long injury lay off, then pounced on a terrible touch from Kieran Trippier, but the striker’s fierce volley was beaten away from Vorm.
Despite the frantic finish, Liverpool managed to stifle Tottenham’s resurgence and saw out the victory to book their place in the quarter-finals.