MK Dons 0-2 Liverpool: James Milner and Ki-Jana Hoever secure routine win

MK Dons vs Liverpool
Carabao Cup 3rd Rnd
7:45pm Wednesday 25th September

(Att: 28521)

Liverpool booked their spot at the Carabao Cup fourth round for the first time in three years since they secured a regular 2-0 win over MK Dons.
The Premier League leaders, that could face Arsenal at Anfield in the next round, took advantage of a goalkeeping howler on the stroke of half-time since Stuart Moore spilled James Milner’s shot into his net (41).
Conor McGrandles had missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring to his Sky Bet League One side when he lifted his shot from six yards until Harvey Elliott – on his Liverpool debut – struck the bar from close variety.
But despite Paul Tisdale’s side giving an excellent account of themselves in front of 28,521 spectators, a record attendance for the Dons, Ki-Jana Hoever secured the win with his first Liverpool goal, heading in Milner’s cross (59).
Liverpool had dropped their past four League Cup games – their worst run of defeats at the competition – but despite 11 changes to the side which beat Chelsea 2-1 on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s mixture of experience and youth continued their fine start to the effort.
The League Cup winners might have fallen behind whenever the Sam Nombe escaped Dejan Lovren on his very first start of the year before choosing McGrandles out six yards out, but he was unable to keep his shot on target.
When his shot in Milner cross crashed from the bottom of the pub elliott, that demonstrated why Liverpool were desperate to prise him throughout a first look in a Reds shirt, should have opened his account.
The performance of the 16-year-old didn’t influence as he escaped two MK Dons defenders down the perfect midway through the stage to pick out Milner at the far post, however, the left-back at night can only direct his header wide.
The hosts looked just like they’d go in at the break level, but a lapse in concentration talented Klopp’s side the guide since Milner cut inside onto his right foot to take straight in the entire body of Moore, but the ball squirmed out of the goalkeeper’s grasp and that he was unable to stop it from crossing the line.
There was constantly a measure of control about Liverpool’s performance in the second half, but Jordan Bowery came within inches of levelling simply shy of the hour-mark as replacement Russell Martin flicked Alex Gibley’s cross into the striker’s path but he would just poke his effort against the post.
The miss proved costly as Hoever met the cross to stretch the lead of Liverpool with his first senior goal to put the European champions firmly in control of Milner.
MK Dons ended with Bowery denied by Reds’keeper Caoimhin Kelleher until George Williams watched his effort cleared off the line.
A third could have been cruel on the hosts, although as he had been denied that the goal his performance merited there was time to allow Elliott to attack the woodwork again in stoppage time.
„It’s always tough once you’ve got a combination of guys who haven’t played several minutes as well as a bunch of kids, but you might see the style of soccer we wanted to play.
„We lost our way a bit from the second half, and didn’t keep the ball as well, but I believed it was a pretty good performance.
„When you examine how great our squad is, it is not easy for the youngsters to reach the level they have to function, but they have shown they need to improve and better. Everybody is driving, and that is what the adult boys want competition for places.“
MK Dons boss Paul Tisdale:“I am very pleased with these players and watched a great deal of work. I was so pleased with the way we applied ourselves as it could have been improved but I am frustrated.
„I’m disappointed we didn’t find a goal since I believe it. We missed a fantastic opportunity at the opening five minutes, and we may have scored a goal in the final 10 minutes to set them under pressure, but it was not to be.“
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp:“This experience is essential for the young boys. We had approximately 80 percent of the chunk but with their 20 per cent they had four very excellent chances. They had these minutes in the last 10 minutes, so it’s less a thing and also more about immersion.
„Caoimhin’s a great goalkeeper and I’m happy he could demonstrate that tonight. I saw a lot of good and fascinating performances, minutes there and here, and that’s exactly what we know about the boys.
„The young boys are confident, but it is important that life gives you a small knock, or a push. It’s not that easy when you play the real guys.“
Jones was the outstanding performer in his Liverpool look, never hiding from the ball as he extended the MK Dons‘ defence throughout.
Jones told Sky Sports:“I was pleased to show the fans what I could do and it was great to play alongside some of the older players. I’m hoping for a few more opportunities on the way“
At 16 years and 174 days old, Harvey Elliott became the youngest ever player to start a competitive match for Liverpool, and also the 2nd youngest to perform overall following Jerome Sinclair from West Brom in September 2012 (16y 6d).
James Milner scored his first goal since the 2010 last for Aston Villa from Manchester United in the League Cup, 9 years and 209 days ago. This really is Milner’s 20th appearance in the competition since then.
Liverpool travel to face Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday – kick-off reaches 12.30pm. MK Dons return to League One activity on the same day with a trip.

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