LONDON: Liverpool’s season took another turn for the worse when it was knocked out of the English League Cup in the third round on Wednesday night with a shocking loss to fourth-tier Northampton, and Chelsea and Manchester City also were eliminated.
Michael Owen scored twice as defending champion Manchester United rallied past second-tier Scunthorpe 5-2.
Liverpool lost 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 2-2 tie against Northampton, which came away with arguably the biggest win in its history.
“It is certainly up there as one of the best nights of my career,” Northampton manager Ian Sampson said.
Milan Jovanovic put Liverpool, a seven-time League Cup champion, ahead in the ninth minute in a downpour at Anfield, but Billy McKay tied it in the 56th and Northampton took the lead on Michael Jacobs’ goal in the 98th. David Ngog equalized in the 116th, and Abdul Osman converted the decisive penalty kick.
“All I can do is congratulate Northampton and apologize to everyone.
The fans came expecting to see us win and I expected us to win. These players have to accept responsibility,” said Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, who joined Liverpool in the off-season.
Liverpool, owned by Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr., is just 16th in the 20-team Premier League. Northampton is 17th in League 2, the equivalent of a Class A baseball league.
Liverpool rested many regular starters.
“I accept responsibility for changing a lot of players in the team,” Hodgson said. “I did it because I honestly thought the players I put on the field were good enough to win the game and they weren’t.”
Newcastle upset Chelsea 4-3 following a last-minute goal by Shola Ameobi, his second goal of the night, and West Bromwich Albion came from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 on goals by Gianni Zuiverloon and Simon Cox.
“I don’t regret making the changes,” said City manager Roberto Mancini, whose club plays Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday. “I have big problems at the moment and we couldn’t take any risks.
United, which like Chelsea and City played largely second-string lineups, fell behind in the 19th minute but came back on the goals by Owen, and one each by Darron Gibson, Chris Smalling and Ji-sung Park. United manager Alex Ferguson skipped the match to scout Valencia ahead of next week’s Champions League meeting.
Aston Villa beat Blackburn 3-1 in the first game for new manager Gerard Houlllier, and Wigan defeated Preston 2-1.
American defender Eric Lichaj started for Aston Villa, and Brad Guzan started in goal in place of American compatriot Brad Friedel. Lichaj’s only previous competitive appearance was Aug. 19 at Rapid Vienna in the first leg of a Europa League qualifying playoff.