Friday, 31 October 2014

Lovren Heads Reds Into Last Eight

After claiming a first clean sheet in 18 attempts in the 0-0 draw at home to Hull, Liverpool hosted Swansea in the Capital One Cup fourth round with the Swans looking to complete a Merseyside double in the competition after dumping Everton out in the previous round.

Both sides made numerous changes from the weekend games with Liverpool notably naming Mario Balotelli on the bench while Raheem Sterling was rested meaning Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini started up front.

Liverpool started well and could have gone ahead after only five minutes as they were awarded a free-kick in a good position but unfortunately, Jordan Henderson's shot went over the cross bar before Lucas had a shot saved by Gerhard Tremmel just minutes later.

The hosts seemed to dominate the chances and how Phillipe Couthinho didn't have a hat-trick before the half-hour mark, only he knows after three good chances went awry. The Brazilian shot wide in the 13th minute before having a powerful shot saved by Tremmel in the 24th minute followed by him blazing over a chance in the 26th minute. 

Swansea responded and could gave gone ahead but for a superb save from Brad Jones who kept out Jefferson Montero's shot before Jonjo Shelvey looked to break the deadlock with successive free-kicks with the first cleared and the second drawing a superb tipping save from Brad Jones.

Liverpool started the second half well with Jordan Henderson and Phillipe Coutinho both testing Gerhard Tremmel before Baftembi Gomis forced a clever save from Brad Jones with a powerful header on the hour but it was a sign of things to come as Swansea went in front in the 65th minute.

Marvin Emnes ghosted into the box before rifling a shot across goal that sailed past Brad Jones to the joy of the travelling fans behind the goal as the Swans led 1-0 but Liverpool could have drawn level just four minutes later as Gerhard Tremmel tipped over a shot from Glen Johnson before the Swansea stopper denied Rickie Lambert with a palm save.

Rickie Lambert came close again with a powerful shot which deflected and forced Gerhard Tremmel into a vital save before Jordan Henderson blazed over with just six minutes remaining but Liverpool equalised in style in the 86th minute as Fabio Borini whipped in a cross which found Mario Balotelli who fired in at the near post to the delight of the Kopites behind the goal.

Extra time looked to be on the cards as the final minutes of the five added on ticked down but Liverpool were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the final minute after Federico Fernandez was dismissed for a challenge on Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian swept the set-piece towards the back post and found Dejan Lovren in acres of space with the Croatian heading past Gerhard Tremmel to the joy of the euphoric Kop as Liverpool secured a place in the last eight.