London: Liverpool starlet Ben Woodburn made history as the teenage striker became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Leeds in the League Cup quarter-finals.
Aged 17 years and 45 days, Woodburn enjoyed a moment to remember forever in the 81st minute at Anfield when he fired home in front of the famous Kop End to eclipse the previous record set by Michael Owen, who was 17 years and 143 days old when he scored against Wimbledon in May 1997.
“Another record taken from me!!! Congratulations BenWoodburn on becoming the youngest ever scorer for LFC at 17yrs and 45 days. #KopEnd,” Owen tweeted.
Woodburn only made his senior debut for Liverpool on Saturday as a late substitute in a Premier League win over Sunderland - an appearance that made him the club’s third youngest ever first-team player.
Cheshire-born Woodburn, who recently signed a long-term contract with Liverpool, is a Wales Under-19 international, but he still remains eligible to play for England at senior level.
While it’s far too early to say a star was born on Tuesday, Woodburn’s impressive pedigree at youth level and his fairytale first goal for the Reds suggest he is one to watch.
“Ben, we know how young he is. It’s a nice story and all the boys are really happy for him,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said.
“Everyone is smiling in the dressing room. It’s a good moment for him and a good moment for us.”
Klopp’s side are through to the League Cup semi-finals for the third successive year thanks to Woodburn and Divock Origi
Klopp has now won seven of his nine League Cup games with Liverpool, who hope to lift the trophy for the ninth time after losing to Manchester City in the final last term.
Before kick-off, Liverpool’s Brazilian captain Lucas and his team-mates, all wearing black armbands, stood for a minutes’ silence following the plane crash that killed 71 people, including members of the Brazilian Chapecoense team.
With Philippe Coutinho sidelined for five weeks with ankle ligament damage, Klopp gave starts to teenagers Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria as the Reds boss selected a team featuring eight changes.
Second tier Leeds, whose last League Cup semi-final appearance was in 1996, should have been ahead early on when Hadi Sacko broke the offside trap and saw his shot saved by Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool gradually took charge and Sadio Mane’s pass slipped Georginio Wijnaldum into the penalty area, but the Dutchman’s shot struck the far post.
Then, in the 76th minute, Alexander-Arnold whipped in a cross from the right and Belgian striker Origi stretched to guide the ball home at the near post for his fourth goal of the season and third in the League Cup.
Woodburn came on in the 67th minute and his dream came to true when he smashed into the net following a flowing move involving Origi, Mane and Wijnaldum.
“He is a brilliant young player. He did very well. A goal will give him confidence to keep learning,” Lucas added of Woodburn.
In the day’s other quarter-final, Premier League strugglers Hull beat second tier Newcastle 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to reach the last four for the first time.
Both sides made a host of changes and a drab game didn’t come to life until the 89th minute when Hull’s Dieumerci Mbokani was sent off after lunging forward with his head at Jamaal Lascelles.
Newcastle took the lead eight minutes into extra-time when former Hull midfielder Mohamed Diame stabbed in, but Robert Snodgrass equalised 60 seconds later.
In the shoot-out, Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic saved from Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle hit the crossbar before Jakupovic turned away Yoan Gouffran’s kick to clinch the win.
On Wednesday, Manchester United host West Ham and Arsenal face Southampton in the remaining last eight ties.