Two Liverpool goals in the second half saw Preston North End knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the fourth round.
The Lilywhites created plenty of chances and on another day could have headed into half-time a few goals to the good, but their chances came to no avail and goals in the second half from Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Frankie McAvoy made nine changes from the weekend, while Jurgen Klopp swapped his entire 11 for this fixture, but by no means was it a weak side fielded.
It was PNE who had much the better of the play in the first half, with the first chance coming through Tom Barkhuizen. He isolated Joe Gomez and the forward, on his 200th appearance for the club, cut on to his left foot but sent an effort just over.
The ball was in the away end on 17 minutes too, after Ryan Ledson hit a superb volley goalwards, and for a second it looked as though it may just dip into the top corner, however it proved to be just too high.
An even better chance fell Brad Potts’ way just short of ten minutes later, as Sean Maguire played him through one on one with Adrian, but the goalkeeper came out on top, tipping his effort over for a corner.
Just a couple of moments later an even better opportunity came around, as Ali McCann played a brilliant ball across goal for Maguire, but Adrian pulled off a great stop to keep it goalless. His save only went as far as Ledson, who tried his luck, his effort being blocked by Neco Williams in the six-yard box, and play ended with Potts, who sent another effort over the bar.
North End would have been disappointed to not head into the break ahead, and in the second half, the first chance fell to the visitors, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain spinning his man and firing wide from 20 yards.
Barkhuizen was then frustrated by Adrian, sidefooting a volley towards the near post which was saved, and the Reds went down the other end to take the lead through Minamino, who volleyed Neco Williams’ cross beyond Declan Rudd.
Frankie McAvoy made all five of his allotted changes, but just a few minutes after his side were two goals down after a moment of class from Origi. Kostas Tsimikas saw his overhit cross strike Rudd’s crossbar and the ball fell to Williams. He saw his shot blocked by Liam Lindsay, and it flew up behind Origi’s back and the forward somehow backheeled it in the air over his head and into the net.
Liverpool almost made it three on 89 minutes, with Williams going one on one on goal, but Rudd came up with a great stop to keep the scoring at two.
PNE line-up: Rudd; van den Berg, Lindsay, Hughes; Rafferty, McCann (Johnson, 78), Potts, Ledson (Whiteman, 79), Cunningham (Earl, 69); Maguire (Sinclair, 79), Barkhuizen (Riis, 63). Subs not used: Iversen, Bauer, Johnson, Storey, Huntington.
Liverpool line-up: Adrian; Williams, Matip (Phillips, 45), Gomez, Tsimikas; Morton, Jones (Beck, 90+1), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Dixon-Bonner, 90+1); Blair (Bradley, 55), Origi, Minamino. Subs not used: Pitaluga, Konate, Firmino, Jota, Hughes.
Referee: Mr D Coote.
Attendance: 22,131 (5,611 away fans).