London: Liverpool`s season went from bad to worse as it was shocked by fourth-tier side Northampton in the third round of the League Cup, on a night fellow Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester City were also knocked out.
Liverpool, which is fifth from bottom in the league, lost 4-2 on penalties yesterday in the teeming rain at Anfield to the lowest-ranked team left in the competition to pile more pressure on manager Roy Hodgson.
Newcastle upset Chelsea 4-3 following a last-minute strike by Shola Ameobi, the striker`s second goal of the night, and West Bromwich Albion came from behind to beat City 2-1 through goals by Gianni Zuiverloon and Simon Cox.
But the biggest shock of the night came at the home of the seven-time League Cup winners and 18-time English champions, who rested most of their main players for a match they were expected to win comfortably.
Northampton is eighth from bottom in the lowest championship in the Football League but belied its status by earning arguably the biggest win in the club`s history.
Liverpool went ahead thanks to Milan Jovanovic`s angled drive but Billy McKay sent the match into extra time with a 56th-minute close-range goal.
Michael Jacobs put the visitors ahead in the first half of extra time and although David Ngog equalized to force penalties, Northampton went through thanks to Abdul Osman`s decisive spotkick.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti also gave many of his reserves a runout but still included first-team regulars John Terry and Nicolas Anelka and went ahead through defender Patrick van Aanholt.
Goals by Nile Ranger, Ryan Taylor and Ameobi put Newcastle in front, only for Anelka to score twice in the space of 17 minutes, the second from the penalty spot, to level the score.
Just as the match appeared to be heading into extra time, Ameobi headed in a corner to put the visitors through.
"I am disappointed with the result but happy with the performance. We had a fantastic reaction when down 3-1 and it was 10 against 11," Ancelotti said. "The cup is not our priority."
To cap a disappointing night for Chelsea, Salomon Kalou, who came on as a substitute at the start of the second half, was carried off on a stretcher before the hour mark after pulling up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
City manager Roberto Mancini, whose team is fourth in the Premier League, gave starts to a raft of youngsters as he looked to preserve his main players for Saturday`s match against Chelsea in the Premier League.