When Arsenal, Chelsea, and Leicester City all exited the 2015 2016 Capital One Cup in the fourth round of the tournament, you had to wonder whether or not this year might see a complete underdog win the League Cup. However, the remaining frontrunners had a week of smooth sailing in the quarterfinals, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, and Stoke City-all Premier League clubs-securing slots in the semifinals of the 2015 Capital One Cup.
Southampton vs. Liverpool
The biggest victory of the round, rather surprisingly, belonged to Liverpool-perhaps providing more proof that Jurgen Klopp's revitalized squad could be domestic league contenders this season. The Reds were playing an away match and were drawn in the only quarterfinal game that included two top-flight teams. Nevertheless, Liverpool left Southampton in the dust during the Wednesday evening match, ultimately walking off the football pitch with a 6-1 advantage.
The game was certainly a thrilling one for Liverpool fans though it didn't necessarily start out that way. It only took a minute for Southampton to take a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal from forward Sadio Mane. Unfortunately for the hosts, that was the last time they would see the inside of the goal all night long.
Once Daniel Sturridge finally equalized the score at the 25-minute mark, the Reds went on a fast break. Sturridge made it a brace four minutes later, and Divock Origi-a 20-year-old striker and winger who is currently in his first season at Anfield-added a third goal just before halftime. The young Origi hasn't seen much playtime since ending his loan spell at Lille this fall, only tallying four appearances and 155 minutes in the Premier League. That's bound to change after this game, though, as Origi netted two more goals in the second half en route to the decisive 6-1 outcome.
Manchester City vs. Hull City
Manchester City grabbed a decisive win of their own in the quarterfinals, beating Hull City (relegated out
of the Premier League at the end of last season) by 4-1 in a satisfying home match. Even without standout players like Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure in the lineup for the December 1st fixture-and even with Raheem Sterling left on the bench for the entire first half-the Sky Blues still controlled the match from start to finish.
Rather than kick things off with a burst of offensive attacks, Manchester sat back and took it easy for the majority of the fixture, only netting one goal (by Wilfried Bony) in the first half. It wasn't until the 80-minute mark that the Sky Blues kicked into high gear, netting three goals in seven minutes-including a quick brace from Kevin De Bruyne. The fact that Hull scored in the dying moments of the match hardly even mattered.
Wins for the Frontrunners
Still, the outcomes of the quarterfinal games pretty much rule out the odds of an underdog winning the Capital One Cup this year. Manchester are drawn against Everton for the two-leg semifinal round, set to take place in January while Liverpool will play Stoke City. Odds are, the tournament will come down to Manchester City and Liverpool-a contest that many are beginning to expect will be mirrored in the Premier League. For those who have been awaiting a chance for Liverpool to strike back against Manchester City for that missed EPL title chance in 2014, 2016 might be the year that it happens.
Root for your favorite remaining team in the Capital One Cup, with a new Manchester City jersey 2015/16 or Liverpool shirt from the Soccer Box online store.