Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has slammed the lack of the VAR (video assistant referee) technology as Manchester City beat his League Cup holders 3-2 in a cracking game on Thursday, taking the lead three times before holding on to reach the quarter-finals.
Defender Nathan Ake headed in what proved to be the winning goal in the 58th minute after Mohamed Salah had equalised one minute after Riyad Mahrez restored City’s advantage early in the second half.
Erling Haaland scored his 24th goal of the season in all competitions to put City ahead in the 10th minute at the Etihad Stadium but Liverpool responded in the 20th, when Fabio Carvalho knocked in a James Milner pass to complete a flowing move.
Klopp thought Haaland’s goal was offside and lamented the fact that VAR is not used in the League Cup until the semi-final stage.
“We have VAR, the referees are used to VAR. The technology is here, why shouldn’t we use it?” he said.
“We had VAR, and all of a sudden you tell them not today. It looked like in a couple of situations they were waiting for it, or thinking there was still VAR.
“There were a couple of offside decisions, where everyone in the stadium was convinced they were offside. We’ll never know probably because we can’t play them back.”
On the game: he added: “We worked hard, we did good stuff. It was not good enough for tonight but it’s City at their home ground, it will always be an incredibly difficult game.”
It was another fast and furious game between the two rivals who took the Premier League title race to a dramatic conclusion last season and once again it was City who finished on top.
City boss Guardiola and Klopp named strong sides in their first game back since the domestic season paused for the World Cup.
The hosts started six players who featured in Qatar, although striker Julian Alvarez was absent as he remained in Argentina celebrating his country’s triumph.
Haaland looked refreshed from his extended break due to Norway’s failure to qualify and in addition to being ruthless in front of goal he heavily contributed to his team’s build-up play, setting up a great chance for Cole Palmer but the youngster sliced his shot well wide.
He had no such problem when presented with his first clear chance, stretching out his left leg to send Kevin de Bruyne’s cross into the net.
City’s defence switched off and allowed Liverpool to pass their way around their area and equalise through Carvalho.
Guardiola’s side looked more likely to score again and did so soon after the interval, Mahrez controlling a through ball from Rodri with one foot and slamming it low into the net with the other.
As has often been the case in the recent years of the fixture, though, Liverpool came straight back and Darwin Nunez made a lung-bursting run down the left wing to latch on to a pass and sent it across for Salah to tap in.
City would not be outdone, however, and took the lead for the final time, Ake rising high to head home an inviting cross from De Bruyne.
Guardiola, who enjoyed a first win over Liverpool in six matches in all competitions, was pleased with his side’s performance.
“We cannot say it was not a good game,” he said. “It’s not easy to keep the ball against Liverpool because they have a defensive structure that is the most difficult I ever faced in my career.
“After the World Cup and a long time without playing, both teams played at an incredibly high level of intensity. Liverpool are so difficult, when they play good, they can destroy you.
“It was a good game and an entertaining game.”
City will travel to Southampton in the quarter-finals and Manchester United were handed a home tie against third-tier Charlton Athletic in the draw on Thursday.
Nottingham Forest will host Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United will entertain Leicester City.