The two sides served up close to a box-office classic on Monday when the Reds ran out 3-1 winners at Anfield, but this was the disappointing sequel that would go straight to DVD – or you would at least have fast forwarded to Arsenal winning on penalties.
Monday’s game was pulsating, won largely thanks to Liverpool’s relentless pressing and passing. However, this Carabao Cup tie was nowhere near replicating that.
That should hardly have been surprising really, given Arsenal made eight changes to their team and Liverpool went one better by making nine.
If there was a star of the show then it was undoubtedly Bernd Leno, who made a string of saves to keep Liverpool out and Arsenal in the game.
His heroics ensured it was 0-0 after 90 minutes and then the German stepped up again during the penalty shootout to twice deny Liverpool and fire the Gunners into the quarter-finals.
Leno was at times a one-man wall for Arsenal, keeping the Reds at bay, and he was rightly mobbed by his team-mates at the final whistle.
The first half on Monday provided entertainment and goals, but this opening 45 minutes was nothing like that.
Instead Arsenal and Liverpool barely laid a glove on each other and it was not until the 35th minute that the first shot on target was registered. That came via Curtis Jones, whose tame effort straight at Leno typified the whole game up to that point.
It suddenly burst into life, though, just moments before half-time when Leno was forced to be at full stretch to deny Diogo Jota’s powerful header.
The German tipped the ball away and it should have been fired home by Takumi Minamino, but the forward couldn’t keep his volley down and it crashed off the crossbar.
Leno had to be sharp again at the start of the second half to get down low and deny Virgil van Dijk when the centre-back had latched onto Marko Grujic’s knockdown from a corner.
It was proving to be one-way traffic and had it not been for Leno, then Arsenal would have been behind as he pulled off fine saves to deny Marko Grujic twice and Jota too.
The German goalkeeper’s brilliant performance meant Arsenal were still in it with 20 minutes to go and they almost went ahead then, but Adrian stayed tall to deny Rob Holding’s header.
That was Arsenal’s first shot on target of the 90 minutes and they only managed one more as the tie ended 0-0 and went to penalties.
The visitors believed they should have had a penalty of their own before that after James Milner appeared to fall and handle the ball in the box, but referee Kevin Friend waved it away.
Instead the two teams had five each to decide who would book a place in the quarter-final. They were level after that, though, as Mohamed Elneny and Divock Origi had their efforts saved but the other four scored.
That meant it went to sudden death and, after Leno dived left to save from Harry Wilson, Joe Willock squeezed the winning penalty under Adrian.