LONDON: Liverpool flirted with what would have been a embarrassing low in their poor start to the season as they were taken to penalties by fourth tier Carlisle United, but came through to reach the League Cup fourth round on Wednesday.

Newcastle United were less fortunate as their woeful start to the campaign continued with a 1-0 defeat to second division Sheffield Wednesday, while the night's showpiece fixture ended with Arsenal beating north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 with two goals from Mathieu Flamini.

It was an easier evening for holders Chelsea, who cruised into the fourth round with a 4-1 win over third tier Walsall, while Southampton thrashed Championship side Milton Keynes Dons 6-0 and Manchester United made light work of Ipswich Town, winning 3-0 at Old Trafford.

Record League Cup winners Liverpool would have expected an equally comfortable evening at home to lowly Carlisle.

Brendan Rodgers's side, however, came into the game without a win in five games in all competitions, with confidence at a low ebb.

They eventually secured a 3-2 shootout win when Bastien Hery's tame effort for Carlisle was easily saved by Adam Bogdan, but the performance will have done nothing to alleviate the mounting pressure on the Liverpool boss.

The Merseysiders had taken an early lead in the game through Danny Ings but were pegged back by a goal from Derek Asamoah after 34 minutes then could not find a breakthrough despite battering at the door and missing a series of chances.