Manchester City emerged victorious in a Carabao Cup thriller at Etihad Stadium as Nathan Ake’s first goal since April eventually saw off the challenge of holders Liverpool.
City led three times and, on the first two occasions, they were pegged back. On the second occasion, it took Mohamed Salah only one minute to restore parity after Riyad Mahrez had cut inside off Rodri’s brilliant crossfield pass and found the bottom corner.
But, just as he had done for Erling Haaland’s opener – and 24th goal of the season – Kevin de Bruyne delivered a superb far-post cross after 58 minutes, which dropped just over Nat Phillips’ head and perfectly for Ake, who nodded home.
City deserved their win, keeping Pep Guardiola on track for his fifth triumph in this competition, which would make him the most successful manager in its history.
The reigning Premier League champions will visit Southampton in the last eight during the week commencing 9 January, 2023.
However, Liverpool – for whom Fabio Carvalho had scored a first equaliser midway through the first half – had their chances, with Darwin Nunez three times shooting across the face of goal and wide of the far post when he was positioned to do much better.
Nunez did set up Salah for his goal when he completely outpaced Aymeric Laporte, but there was no third response from the visitors, whose defence of the trophy is at an end.