An angry debate has exploded on social media after Liverpool were thrashed 5-0 by Aston Villa in the League Cup.
Liverpool are under fire after being unceremoniously dumped out of the Carabao Cup.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp's decision to field the youngest side in Liverpool's history backfired spectacularly as they were thumped 5-0 by Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the English League Cup.
With Liverpool's senior players out of action due to the Club World Cup in Qatar on the following day, the club fielded five debutants in an XI against Villa with an average age of 19 years, six months and three days.
Aston Villa themselves made 10 changes from the side that lost to Sheffield United in the Premier League over the weekend.
However, the Villains were still able to field a vastly more experienced side than their youthful opponents and they made it count.
By halftime, Villa had blown the Reds out of the water and the competition - up 4-0 after goals to Conor Hourihane, a Morgan Boyes own goal and a double to Jonathan Kodija.
Brazilian Wesley completed the scoring in stoppage time as Villa booked their place in the semi-final in emphatic fashion.
By that stage, outrage had been building on social media as fans took aim at Klopp and Liverpool for apparently "disrespecting" the Cup.
Others argued, however, that with two games in two days after last weekend's Premier League win over Watford, Liverpool were left with little choice by the English Football League (EFL).
Klopp disrespecting the league cup, even though he has just 1 trophy in 5yrs in Liverpool— Jabar (@jabarzee) December 17, 2019
What a disgrace. Other teams will kill to be in this position and Liverpool disrespect the cup with this team. Hope they get knocked out. The World Club competition is a farce.— Monty Brewster (@BrewstersSkint) December 17, 2019
How lucky are @AVFCOfficial in this Micky Mouse Cup farce- last time it was Wolves reserves now Liverpool schoolboys XI!!— Ed wood (@Edwood69632689) December 17, 2019
Liverpool should be banned from next year's league Cup. An absolute farce— Ronny (@RonnyCombo) December 17, 2019
Liverpool had no choice. Pushing it back would’ve made it more of a farce in my opinion. The FA and more so FIFA need to ensure domestic games take precedence over other competitions. That won’t happen though as to much.... pic.twitter.com/RW1zJTvDn1— warrenfree (@warrenfree) December 17, 2019
I trust liverpool will be fined accordingly for essentially giving villa a bye in this farce of a game?— 🎄Ding Dan Merrily on High🎄 (@Carpenterdf) December 17, 2019
Absolute farce in the #EFLCup tonight. As much as I love seeing Liverpool getting spanked. The competition should be scrapped with premier league and championship teams starting in R1 of the #FACup. It’ll be continued to be devalued until it’s pointless. #EFL @talkSPORTDrive— Tom Sefton. (@seffy11) December 17, 2019
Not a liverpool fan at all but this is a shambles making them play this game. Surely a better scenario could have come from this. Any other country would support a teams achievements and not punish for being successful. Bit of a farce really.— brad wynn (@squidgeapetto) December 17, 2019
It isn't all about Liverpool but it is special circumstances. I love seeing Liverpool lose as they get enough success but it has been a farce for the quarters to take place when they had no chance of fielding a strong side.— John Francis (@JohnFrancisBC) December 17, 2019
A crying shame that FIFA put Liverpool into a position where the team couldn’t maintain a domestic competition as well as its Club World Cup farce.— Joe Fernandez (@Joe_M_Fernandez) December 17, 2019
No Liverpool fan but that was a farce. Punishing them for being successful. Not a great look for English football.— Jon Fisher (@fisherjon10) December 17, 2019
Liverpool should be fined for disrespecting the cup. What a team to put out in the quarter finals.— ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@ChelseaJunglist) December 17, 2019
The hosts took the lead in the 14th minute when Hourihane's whipped free-kick wide on the right eluded everybody, including Reds keeper Caoimhin Kelleher, and nestled in the bottom-left corner.
Villa doubled their lead shortly afterwards when a right-wing cross from Ahmed Elmohamady came off the boot of Liverpool defender Boyes and looped over the goalkeeper.
Kodjia added the third in the 37th minute and Villa's fourth shortly before the break when he turned in a low cross from Elmohamady from close range.
Wesley rounded off the scoring in time added on when he beat Kelleher at the far post.
Villa midfielder Hourihane was pleased to come through a "lose-lose" game on the winning side and book a semi-final berth.
⚽️ GOAL!! It's men against boys ... literally 😲 @J_Kodjia has another one!! @AVFCOfficial 4️⃣-0️⃣ @LFC | Watch LIVE on beIN SPORTS CONNECT ▶️ https://t.co/rCfJxEPbPz | #CarabaoCup | #AVLLIV | #EFLCup pic.twitter.com/tmwHgb3Evp— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) December 17, 2019
"It was not easy. They are a young team and they would have been bang up for it but our quality came on in the end," he told Sky Sports Football.
"All in all it's nice to get through. It's great to get into the semi-final. We'll see who we get."
Liverpool under-23s coach Neil Critchley revealed afterwards that Villa boss Dean Smith and assistant John Terry had come into their shed.
"They said how difficult we made it for them, that we have some good players and to keep going and good luck for the future," he said.
"They (the players) know this was part of their journey tonight. There will be ups and downs along the way but my overriding feeling is of immense pride."