Manchester City began their bid to win a fifth consecutive League Cup after beating Wycombe 6-1, while Japan forward Takumi Minamino inspired Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Norwich on Tuesday. Everton and Watford were Premier League major casualties in the third round, losing to QPR and Stoke respectively. If they win the trophy this time, City will overtake Liverpool with a record nine League Cup wins. The holders made a perfect start to that mission as Pep Guardiola was rewarded for a strong attack at the Etihad Stadium featuring Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez.
City, who made his debut for six academy graduates, were stunned in the 22nd minute as Brandon Hanlan scored his first goal for third-tier Wycombe.
But Guardiola’s men leveled seven minutes later, when de Bruyne slammed Foden’s pass and slid into the far corner for his first goal since May.
Mahrez fired off City with a crisp finish two minutes before the break after fine work from debutant Josh Wilson-Ebrand.
Foden gathered a short corner and drilling home from 25 yards in the third second of the city.
Torres finished fourth after 71 minutes with a close-range finish and Mahrez’s tap-in and a first City goal for Cole Palmer halted the demolition.
“I just have to say thank you to the academy. They all do an incredible job,” Guardiola said.
“I was lucky to grow up in Barcelona. Barca won the Champions League with seven players from the academy. He is unique.
“Here, you get the feeling that we not only have one or two potential players, but there are many of them. He has something special.”
Liverpool had already won 3–0 at Carrow Road in the Premier League earlier this season and their reserves managed to repeat that scoreline.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp made nine changes to the side that beat Crystal Palace on Saturday, debuting 16-year-old Kaid Gordon and fellow teen Conor Bradley.
Minamino, making his first appearance of the season after a thigh injury, fired him into the lead in the fourth minute as he drilled home with a header from Divock Origi.
‘Really nice moment’
Norwich missed a chance at level before half-time when a Christos Tzolis penalty was saved by Koimhin Kelleher after Bradley fouled Dimitris Giannoulis.
Origi doubled Liverpool’s advantage in the 50th minute, taking the lead in Costas Simikas’ cross for his first goal in 12 months.
Minamino scored his second goal with 10 minutes to go, netting in clinical fashion from close-range.
“The footballer wants to play, it’s obvious. He was with his national team, got injured and wasn’t fit then,” Klopp said of Minamino.
“It wasn’t like he didn’t play for 60 weeks. Taki is in a really good moment, is training well and deserves two goals.”
Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton crashed into second-tier QPR, losing 8-7 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
After Everton’s loss at Aston Villa, Rafael Benitez made five changes and Charlie Austin twice put forward QPR, with Lucas Digne and Andros Townsend equalizing for the visitors.
In the shoot-out, Tom Davis’ penalty was saved by Cenny Dieng and Jimmy Dunne converted the winning kick.
Watford paid the price for making 11 changes as the Hornets suffered a surprise 3–1 loss to second-tier Stoke at Vicarage Road.
Southampton kept their guts to register a 4-2 penalty win at second-tier Sheffield United after a 2-2 draw.
Leeds also survived a shoot-out, beating Championship side Fulham 6–5 after a 0–0 draw.
Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez scored four goals – more than one goal his team scored in five league games this season – in a 4-1 win over Rochdale.
Brentford thrashed League Two bottom club Oldham 7-0 thanks to four goals from Marcus Fors.