Thursday, 25 September 2014

Reds Edge Out Boro In Historic Shootout

After a 3-1 drubbing away to West Ham at the weekend, Liverpool looked to bounce back as they hosted Championship side Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup third round.

A number of changes from the weekend saw a debut handed to 17-year-old Jordan Rossiter and a place on the bench for 19-year-old Jordan Williams while the trio of Raheem Sterling, Rickie Lambert and Lazar Markovic spearheaded the attack.

However, Middlesbrough had the first chance to open the scoring inside three minutes as Kike headed over from a dangerous set-piece but Liverpool responded and opened the scoring themselves in the 10th minute. A dangerous cross drew a poor clearance from Jamal Blackman which fell to Rickie Lambert whose rebounded shot cannoned off a defender and into the path of Jordan Rossiter who made a superb start to his debut with a long range finish past Blackman.

Middlesbrough looked to respond and came closest on the half-hour as Kike hit a shot over the bar from a corner which was followed a minute later by a shot from Lee Tomlin which drew a strong save from Simon Mignolet ensured the hosts led into the interval.

The visitors made the better start to the second half and could have drawn level when Grant Leadbitter took aim from distance but was unable to trouble Simon Mignolet in the Liverpool goal before Adam Lallana advanced on goal at the other end and forced a strong save from Jamal Blackman.

However, Middlesbrough did get back on level terms in the 62nd minute when Grant Leadbitter swept in a dangerous free kick which found the head of Adam Reach and sailed past a helpless Simon Mignolet for 1-1. The Belgian could have been beaten for a second time in the 77th minute when a powerful run from Adam Clayton saw him shoot from a tight angle resulting in a superb stop from Mignolet.

Liverpool made a strange change just two minutes later as goal scorer Jordan Rossiter was replaced in midfield by fellow debutant Jordan Williams whose first involvement resulted in a chance for Javi Manquillo who hit a shot over the bar.

Adam Clayton threatened for Middlesbrough with just five minute remaining as a clever run down the left saw him arrow a powerful shot at goal only to see it cannon back off the post. At the other end substitute Mario Balotelli had a superb chance to win the game for Liverpool but sent his shot wide of the target meaning the tie would have to be settled in extra time.

Liverpool had an early chance in extra time as a dangerous cross from Raheem Sterling found Lucas in space but the Brazilian's shot was blocked well by the defence and five minutes later, Liverpool used their last throw of the dice as Suso replaced Lazar Markovic but were unable to break the deadlock in the first period.

The second period of extra time started brightly for the hosts as Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling both forced fine saves from Jamal Blackman who was powerless to prevent Liverpool going 2-1 ahead in the 108th minute  Raheem Sterling's cross caused trouble in the Middlesbrough defence with the ball falling to Suso who fired the hosts in front.

Liverpool looked to be safely into the next round as the final seconds ticked down but a mistimed back pass from Raheem Sterling found Patrick Bamford who raced into the Liverpool area before being fouled by Kolo Toure resulting in a penalty. Bamford stepped up and slotted past Simon Mignolet for 2-2 and forced the tie into a penalty shootout.

Mario Balotelli stepped up first in front of the Kop and slotted past Jamal Blackman for 1-0 before Simon Mignolet saved well from Patrick Bamford, Lucas made it 2-0 before Adam Clayton responded successfully for 2-1. Adam Lallana made it 3-1 before Adam Reach converted for 3-2 followed by Suso adding to his extra time strike with a clever penalty for a 4-2 lead meaning the next spot kick would be crucial.

Albert Adomah stepped up and rifled past Simon Mignolet to make it 4-3 meaning Raheem Sterling had the chance to win the tie for Liverpool but his effort was saved by Jamal Blackman with Jelle Vossen sending the tie into sudden death at 4-4.

Jordan Williams kept his cool to make it 5-4 before George Friend levelled successfully at 5-5, Kolo Toure converted for 6-6 before former Reds defender Daniel Ayala made the score 6-6 while Mamadou Sakho put the hosts 7-6 ahead but Ryan Fredericks responded for the visitors for 7-7.

The game crept to three hours since the kick-off as Javi Manquillo and Kenneth Omeruo both converted efforts for 8-8 before Jose Enrique and Yaric Wildschut also scored from the spot for 9-9 which meant the rarity of both goalkeepers having to take part. Simon Mignolet buried his effort past Jamal Blackman for 10-9 with his opposite number also converting taking the score to 10-10.

As all 22 players had taken a kick, the merry go round began again with Mario Balotelli converting for 11-10 before Patrick Bamford converted his second penalty from three attempts in the space of 15 minutes for 11-11. Lucas and Adam Clayton repeated their earlier successes for 12-12 before Adam Lallana and Adam Reach replied in kind for a bizarre 13-1 scoreline. Suso made it 14-13 with the 29th penalty of the shootout before Albert Adomah fired over to finally bring an end to the longest shootout in League Cup history and send Liverpool into the fourth round.