LONDON – Daniel Sturridge sent Liverpool into the League Cup quarterfinals and gave his manager a reminder of his talents with two clinical goals in a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.
The England striker has struggled to convince Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp this season, but he was a livewire all night at Anfield where his double put the hosts in charge before Vincent Janssen pulled a goal back with a penalty for the visitors.
Klopp’s side is joined in the last eight by Arsenal, which eased past second-tier Reading 2-0 with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring twice, while Newcastle United romped to a 6-0 win over 10-man Preston North End and Hull City won 2-1 at Bristol City.
Leeds United beat Norwich City 3-2 on penalties, while the quarterfinal lineup will be completed on Wednesday with three more ties including Manchester United hosting local rival and holder City in the pick of the fourth-round matches.
With no European soccer to occupy his squad this season, Liverpool manager Klopp raised a few eyebrows by making 11 changes to the side that beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Spurs, who are midway through a run of seven games in 23 days and have the Champions League to worry about, had more justification for retaining only Eric Dier from the side that drew 0-0 with Bournemouth at the weekend.
Liverpool, a record eight-time League Cup winner and last season’s beaten finalist, was ahead after nine minutes when Sturridge, who has started just two of its last six games in all competitions, showed predatory instincts to poke home.
While his work rate often comes under scrutiny, Sturridge’s eye for goal has never been in doubt and when Marko Grujic’s shot deflected into his path, he showed lightning reactions to beat Spurs keeper Michel Vorm to the ball.
“He did what he has to do. It was brilliant, he could have scored three or four,” said Klopp, who regularly prefers Brazilian Roberto Firmino in attack in the Premier League.