Arsenal and Liverpool delighted the world of football with an ode to attacking play and a game full of controversy, comebacks, emotion and goals in the last minute that ended in penalties with a victory for Liverpool (6-5), certifying their pass to the quarterfinals of the League Cup.
A meeting that already provided emotion in advance despite the notable absences on both sides, especially in Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp's men brought out a team full of substitutes, without any of their stars. Neither Mohamed Salah, nor Virgil van Dijk, nor Sadio Mané, nor Roberto Firmino started and Liverpool noticed it.
Not first, since they took the lead thanks to an own goal from the unlucky Mustafi after five minutes. The German's goal heralded another nightmarish night for Arsenal, who nevertheless recovered before the break with three goals.
The first of them the most controversial. In a play initiated by Mesut Özil, who played again more than a month later, a series of rebounds and a final clearance by Caoimhin Kelleher left the ball at will to the Uruguayan Torreira to push it in an offside position.
The absence of VAR prevented the action from being reviewed and Arsenal returned to the game so that the one who really broke it was the rising star Martinelli. The Brazilian, who had already achieved a double this season, reaffirmed himself with another before the break.
He picked up a loose ball inside the area to make it 1-2 and defined a lateral center for 1-3.
But when everything smiled at Arsenal, a penalty for a fall by the very young Harvey Elliott, the earliest debutant in the history of the Premier, was transformed by James Milner, preventing Liverpool from going dead to the locker room.
Milner himself insisted on burying his own more and a horrible transfer to Kelleher that ended with the theft of Maitland-Niles and the Englishman's goal.
The 2-4 did not discourage Liverpool, who subscribed to the epic. An Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain volley goal set Anfield roaring and they turned to last year's hero to level the game.
Divock Origi scored a beauty by turning around at the first touch and aiming at Emiliano Martínez. Anfield exploded, but football reserved a bucket of cold water for the souls of Liverpool.
A 4-5, through Joe Willock who momentarily aborted another Liverpool comeback and who returned to the 'Gunners' on the night of October 30, 2012, when they scored 7 against Reading. A 4-5 that gave the game the penultimate turn, perhaps one of the best of the year in England or at least one of the most exciting. The final note was missing, which Origi would put back with a kind of bicycle kick after 93 minutes, sending the match to penalties.
In the shootout, both teams scored their first three pitches until Dani Ceballos missed the first. Origi and Curtis Jones scored theirs and this marvel called football ended.
Loaded with tension, controversy and goals, Liverpool sealed their pass to the quarterfinals and Arsenal gave up one of the cups at the first exchange, discussing Unai Emery's position even more.