MK Dons bowed out of the Carabao Cup courtesy of a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, which came despite a spirited performance against the Premier League leaders in front of a Club-record crowd at Stadium MK.
A total of 28,521 supporters turned out to watch the Dons take on Jurgen Klopp’s UEFA Champions League winning Reds, who took the lead late in the first half through a long-range strike from James Milner.
Milner then set up the second for Liverpool with 20 minutes to play, delivering a cross for Ki-Jana Hoever to head past Stuart Moore.
The Dons had chances to get on the scoreboard and it would have been nothing less than their performance deserved, but Tisdale’s men still left the pitch at full-time with their heads held high.
Boss Tisdale made five changes for the visit of Liverpool, with Stuart Moore, Alex Gilbey, Jordan Bowery, Brennan Dickenson and Callum Brittain all coming into the starting XI.
Liverpool started bright but both Walsh and Poole did well to deal with two balls into the area. The Dons also got in behind inside the opening five minutes, although Bowery did so illegally, as he was offside.
Tisdale’s men then had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead on 11 minutes after some terrific work by Sam Nombe down the right. The young striker got away from Dejan Lovren but slipped at the crucial moment. He managed to regain his footing and tee up Conor McGrandles, who lifted a first-time shot over the bar.
Harvey Elliott had an even better chance for Liverpool moments later. He was picked out by James Milner, following a run down the left, but somehow struck the underside of the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
Moore was forced into his first save a quarter of an hour in. He did well to get down to his right and palm away a low strike from Curtis Jones.
With 20 minutes played, an over-hit David Kasumu cross caused a moment of panic for Caoimhin Kelleher, who managed to back track in time to gather the goal-bound delivery. At the other end, Milner shaved the post with a header from Ellliott’s cross.
Gilbey then went agonisingly close with a first-time effort from a Bowery set up before Moore gathered a curling attempt from Jones.
He couldn’t, however, keep out the next effort from Liverpool, as he failed to deal with Milner’s long-range effort which found its way into the net with four minutes to play in the half. 0-1.
Tisdale made one change at the break, replacing Dickenson with the experienced Russell Martin. He watched on as Joe Gomez sent an early strike high above the crossbar from 20 yards out.
Martin thought he’d set up the equaliser on the hour mark but his header was deflected onto the post by Bowery. Stadium MK was on its feet as the ball trickled past Kelleher but towards the upright rather than the net.
A well-placed Elliott blazed over for the Reds four minutes later, before Ki-Jana Hoever doubled the visitors lead on 69 minutes with a bullet far-post header from Milner’s cross. 0-2.
Bowery almost produced an instant response but his fierce right-footed drive was kept out well by Kelleher. The striker headed over from the resulting corner.
On 75 minutes, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struck the outside of the post with a rasping drive from distance. MK Dons countered but Nombe, who beat Jones in the left corner, saw his cross to Bowery intercepted.
Bowery came within a whisker of pulling a goal back with the Dons’ next chance but saw his header, from Boateng’s cross, kept out at point-blank range by Kelleher. He then had a try blocked after some good work by Nombe down the left.
The opportunities kept coming for Tisdale and his side, with Williams the next to threaten – his hooked volley somehow blocked on its way through to goal by Lovren. A moment of brilliance from Brittain then almost led to a goal but he fired over after leaving Milner on the floor.
Spurred on by the home crowd, the Dons huffed and puffed in the closing stages but couldn't find a way to reduce the deficit. Nevertheless, a memorable night for the Football Club - and a performance to match.
MK Dons: Moore, Williams, Walsh, Poole, Gilbey (Boateng 72), Bowery, Dickenson (Martin 46), McGrandles, Brittain, Nombe, Kasumu (Houghton 61).
Unused subs: Nicholls, Lewington, Agard, Harley.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Lovren, Milner, Keita (Chirivella 63), Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Kane 82), Lallana, Brewster, Jones, Hoever (van den Berg 90+1), Elliottt.
Unused subs: Lonergan, Lewis, Longstaff, Clarkson.
Goals: Milner (41), Hoever (69)
Referee: O Langford
Attendance: 28,521 (6,692 away)