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Liverpool and Tottenham showed how fun the League Cup can be

The two teams played squads loaded with reserves and academy kids, but that just made the game more entertaining.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - EFL Cup Fourth Round Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Tuesday's match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur wasn't just a win for Liverpool — it was a sign of just how entertaining and interesting the League Cup can be.

Often derided by many fans of the English game, we rarely get to see matches in the League Cup that are actually worth our time. Too often they're heavily lopsided affairs between teams far apart in quality, matches that fail to entertain or inform us in any way. Even when there's a big upset of a major club, it tends to be because of them playing a ton of reserves or academy kids and not taking the game seriously.

So when both Liverpool and Tottenham named starting lineups heavy with backups, with the Reds going so far as to hand senior debuts to two academy players, many thought it would be more of the same old boring League Cup nonsense. They couldn't have been more wrong.

What we got was an open, end-to-end, sometimes sloppy, but always fun match between two sets of hungry players eager to make an impact. It wasn't the prettiest game in the world, but Jürgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino had their teams inspired and playing aggressively, much to the benefit of everyone watching. Instead of a dull affair, we got a match that you could hardly tear your eyes away from for fear of missing something.

Better yet, the match was incredibly informative for both managers and fan bases, who got a good long look at numerous players who have seen limited minutes at best this season. Daniel Sturridge, for instance, looked fantastic scoring both of Liverpool's goals to lead the win, but more importantly he played with a ton of energy and looked like he had plenty left in the tank when he came off. Considering his long string of injury woes and fitness issues, that's a wonderful thing to see for Liverpool fans.

They also got to see Lucas Leiva continue to improve as a center back, Marko Grujic impress as the midfield's main playmaker, and Kevin Stewart play at a surprisingly high level in the center. Spurs fans enjoyed watching Harry Winks continue to take strides, as well as solid performances from Vincent Janssen and Georges-Kevin N'Koudou in attack.

Of course, not all the news was good. Tom Carroll was poor for Tottenham, as was Kevin Wimmer, who recently demanded more playing time. Good luck with that after that showing. Liverpool fans were frustrated with Georginio Wijnaldum, who in between flashes of immense quality in midfield would be mediocre — at the absolute best.

Perhaps the real story, though, was the play of some of the kids on the pitch. We already touched on Winks and Grujic impressing, but they were far from alone. Josh Onomah was solid for Spurs, as was his young replacement off the bench, Shayon Harrison, who made his senior debut and nearly scored right away.

Liverpool had two debutants of their own, with Oviemuno Ejaria and the much heralded Trent Alexander-Arnold both putting in good shifts despite being thrown into the deep end starting against a team of Tottenham's quality. Neither player was perfect, but both showed plenty of reasons for fans to keep a close eye on them in the future.

Speaking of close eyes, Spurs fans and fans of the United States national team alike were watching closely to see how defender Cameron Carter-Vickers held up. The 18-year-old is a top defensive prospect, and one many are excited about, so seeing how he performed against Liverpool in the raucous Anfield atmosphere bore close scrutiny. In the end, he played much like you'd expect a promising 18-year-old to play: some absolutely fantastic moments, but also a few that made him look out of place, especially against a striker as good as Sturridge.

But that inconsistency is to be expected, and is why getting playing time like this is so important for Carter-Vickers and, well, for every other player on the Anfield pitch in this match. They need that playing time and that experience to learn and improve and just to get more minutes under their belts. Everyone who played certainly made the most of their experience, as fans should come away feeling better about just about every player who was out there.

And in the end, this kind of experience, this kind of match, is exactly what the League Cup can be all about. Helping players grow and improve, helping teams learn what they have past their usual starters, and giving fans a chance to see something new and different from their teams. Especially when both teams are as hungry and ready to do anything needed to win as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were on Tuesday, that translates into a very fun and very different match than we usually see in the League Cup — and hopefully something we start seeing a lot more of.