Man City defeat Liverpool in exciting clash to book place in Carabao Cup quarterfinals

Manchester City fought their way to a place in the Carabao Cup quarterfinals after defeating Liverpool 3-2 in an exciting clash at the Etihad on Thursday.

Striker Erling Haaland continued where he left off before the World Cup break as he connected with Kevin De Bruyne's cross to volley it into the net and give his side an early lead just 10 minutes into the match.

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Liverpool midfielder Fabio Carvalho equalised in the 20th minute, slotting home a pass from James Milner past City goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

Minutes after half-time, City found themselves in front again through a perfectly placed strike from Riyad Mahrez that found the bottom corner of the goal.

Their lead was not long lived as less than a minute later Liverpool marched straight back the other way with forward Mohamed Salah bringing his team level again to make it 2-2.

The drama continued as following a short corner play from City with De Bruyne swinging the ball into the box as defender Nathan Ake peeled off around the back to head the ball past goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Despite efforts from Salah and Nunez, Liverpool couldn't equalise for a third time as City hung on to book their place in the quarterfinals.

Erling Haaland celebrates with teammate Kevin De Bruyne after scoring against Liverpool.
Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp was left wondering why VAR wasn't available in the Carabao Cup until the semifinals, with the Liverpool coach saying Haaland looked offside before scoring the opener.

"We have VAR, the referees are used to VAR. The technology is here, why shouldn't we use it?," Klopp asked. "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."

City coach Pep Guardiola and his counterpart 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.

Haaland 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 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.

The Manchester City will face Southampton in the quarterfinals, with matches set to begin the week of Jan. 9.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.