Now that the potential semi-final opponents have been confirmed, they are not formidable contenders

Now that the potential semi-final opponents have been confirmed, they are not formidable contenders

On Tuesday evening, three of the four League Cup quarter-final matches were held, before the final quarter-final match between Liverpool and West Ham was held on Wednesday.

It is now clear who the opposition Jurgen Klopp’s men could face should they advance to the semi-finals.

Port Vale-Middlesbrough 0-3 (0-2)

In the showdown between the two biggest underdogs remaining in the League Cup, it was the smallest underdog who qualified.

Championship side Middlesbrough had great difficulty taking the lead against League One side Port Vale, after goals from Jonny Howson, Morgan Rogers and Matt Crooks.

Middlesbrough is led by Michael Carrick and ranks in the middle of the standings in the championship.

Everton – Fulham 1-1 (0-1), 6-7 after penalties

There has been excitement about the possibility of the Merseyside derby being played in the League Cup semi-final, as happened when Liverpool won the tournament in 2012.

Sean Dyche’s side have been in stunning form since announcing a ten-point deduction in the Premier League for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, but Marco Silva’s men were no match for Liverpool’s neighbours.

Michael Keane took the lead for the visitors at the end of the first half when he was unlucky to put the ball into his own net, but with Goodison at his back, the blue shirts fought back and equalized through Beto. That result was achieved, and that meant a penalty shootout at Goodison.

In the penalty shootout, it was like that for a long time, but Jordan Pickford didn’t have enough weapons to prevent Fulham from drawing the longest straw.

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victory: Fulham qualified for the semi-finals at the expense of Everton.

Chelsea – Newcastle 1-1 (0-1), 4-2 after penalties

In a showdown between the toughest possible rivals, on paper, in the semi-final, it was Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side who drew the longest straw.

Callum Wilson sent the visitors into the lead after a blunder from Benoit Badiashile, and for a long time looked like they could hold on to the lead all the way.

However, Kieran Trippier made a mistake in stoppage time – as he has done in a number of Newcastle games recently – and gifted Mykhailo Medruk an equaliser. And so, the stage was set for a penalty shootout at Stamford Bridge.

In the penalty shootout, Chelsea scored all of their penalties, while Trippier and Matt Ritchie missed, ensuring Newcastle’s exit.

Opportunity at all times

It is now said that Liverpool have an all-time chance of reaching the final.

The best team remaining in the tournament is Chelsea, who are 10th in the Premier League at the time of writing, just ahead of 11th-placed Fulham. Middlesbrough are the dream opponent.

Liverpool’s victory over West Ham on Wednesday night is not a given – they are a team that has caused the reds big problems in the past – but now the team in red are clear favorites in the tournament.

If the job is done against West Ham, the smell of Wembley can be felt from afar.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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