Liverpool suffered a scare at Anfield, giving up a two goal lead over Notts County before sealing victory with a pair of extra-time strikes from Daniel Sturridge & Jordan Henderson.
Raheem Sterling and Sturridge looked to have wrapped the game up in the first half for the Reds, but in the end they were unable to get the job done in 90 minutes – something that was clearly a priority for Brendan Rodgers ahead of the visit of Manchester United this weekend.
Aly Cissokho and Luis Alberto made their competitive starts in a strong Liverpool lineup which also included Sturridge, Steven Gerrard, and Glen Johnson.
It didn’t take long for Liverpool to make their mark – Sterling darting past several defenders before firing past Bartosz Bialkowski after just four minutes to give his side the lead.
A good start was dampened slightly shortly after the goal, with Cissokho seeing his full debut cut short by injury and being replaced by Daniel Agger.
Liverpool doubled their lead shortly before the half-hour mark. Gerrard cut the Notts County open with a pinpoint ball to Sturridge who controlled well before firing his shot into the far corner.
With the result seemingly in the bag the Reds looked confident, and could have extended their lead further before the break were it not for the woodwork and some good saves by Bialkowski.
The start of the second half saw a slightly more conservative approach from Liverpool – no doubt with Sunday’s clash in the back of some players minds. Despite the lower tempo though the Reds still looked firmly in control, until the visitors picked up a free kick.
The ball was floated in and Manny Smith nodded ball back across the face of goal to Arquin, who powered his header past Simon Mignolet to halve Liverpool’s lead.
There didn’t appear to be too much to panic about for the home fans though, as their side continued to play much of the game in the opposition half.
Perhaps though the Liverpool defence got too confident, as the visitors managed to net a second to bring the scores level with the 90 minutes drawing to a close.
Arquin squeezed his way behind the Liverpool defence before laying the ball back for substitute Adam Coombes, who coolly slotted home to send the visiting fans into a frenzy.
The Reds pushed forward following the equaliser, but despite both Agger and Sterling going close were unable to find a third goal before the ref blew for full time.
Following the earlier injuries to Cissokho and Joe Allen, Kolo Toure was the third Liverpool player of the evening to have his game cut short. Having already used up their three substitutions, the Reds were forced to see out the rest of the tie with 10 men.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Sturridge sent his side back into the lead with his second goal of the evening right at the end of the first half of extra time.
Philippe Coutinho – on as a second half sub – found Sturridge unmarked in a good position. Bialkowski got a hand to the striker’s shot, but could only watch as the ball trickled over the line thanks to the power behind the strike.
The result was confirmed five minutes into the second period of extra time, when Henderson nutmegged Gary Liddle before slotting home to ensure embarrassment was averted.