Brendan Rodgers hails Hamza Choudhury, Dean Smith slams Ezri Konsa
Brendan Rodgers warned his Leicester City side that they will have to suffer to reach the League Cup final, after Kelechi Iheanacho's late goal earned a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Rodgers' side fell behind to Frederic Guilbert's 28th-minute opener in the semi-final, first leg at the King Power Stadium.
But Iheanacho came off the bench to equalise 16 minutes from time with his sixth goal in eight appearances this season.
Leicester will feel they should have won after dominating for long periods, reported AFP, but the English Premier League's second-placed side will have to finish the job at Villa Park in the second leg on Jan 28.
Rodgers has a remarkable record of advancing from his last 30 domestic cup ties with Liverpool, Celtic and Leicester.
But the last team to beat Rodgers in a domestic knockout competition were Villa in the FA Cup semi-finals in 2014/15, when he was Liverpool manager.
"Overall, I thought we dominated the game. Villa made some blocks and the goalkeeper made some good saves," Rodgers said.
"Over two ties, it was always going to be tough and to get to a final you have to suffer, but the boys are confident...
"Hamza Choudhury made a huge difference, it's my fault that I didn't start him tonight.
"We could see that we needed him and he gave us our identity back."
Former Crystal Palace and Ireland striker Clinton Morrison believes midfielder Choudhury, 22, deserves an England chance.
He said on the BBC: "Gareth Southgate was here watching today - maybe put Hamza Choudhury into the England squad, because holding midfield is the biggest problem for England at the moment.
"Choudhury... can sniff out danger, he destroys it and can make a tackle. But he's also really good on the ball. Why not give him a game?"
Fellow 22-year-old Ezri Konsa's hospital pass to Douglas Luiz saw him dispossessed by Choudhury in the lead-up to Iheanacho's equaliser, leaving Villa boss Dean Smith fuming.
Said Smith: " We gave away a farcical goal. Ezri Konsa has got brain dazzled.
"A disappointing goal, but it sums up some of our performance on the night...
"It wasn't the performance I wanted, Leicester were the better team."