Swansea City were on the verge of sending Liverpool out of the League Cup for the second time in three seasons until a late fight back saw the hosts sneak into the quarter-finals.
With the fixtures coming thick and fast, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers rung the changes for the midweek meeting, though things looked pretty much the same as always when Jacks attacker Marvin Emnes swung in a highlight reel volley that beat stand-in ‘keeper Brad Jones just past the hour mark. Embattled striker Mario Balotelli was introduced into the fray right around the time the cause looked lost, but the Italian eased an effort past Gerhard Tremmel from a Fabio Borini cross to level proceedings before Dejan Lovren completed the turn-around by heading home Philippe Coutinho’s well-placed free-kick to spark wild celebrations in front of the Kop.
It’s a draw that feels vaguely like a loss with Liverpool left frustrated by a combination of Hull City’s well drilled back-line and their own lack of a cutting edge in front of goal.
With the Reds coming off a pair of disappointing performances and the Tigers buoyed by last weekend’s draw at the Emirates Stadium, the result doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. While playing out our first clean sheet in 18-outings leaves a little room for optimism, watching our first goalless draw in 48 Premier League games tempers any left-over sunshine and lollipops significantly; it doesn’t take an expert, or me repeating it ceaselessly, to see that something is amiss at Anfield.
There was a point in and around the 65th minute when, after cutting Liverpool’s defense open far too easily with a mesmerizing passing move, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema shared a chuckle with his team-mates after coming within inches of helping his side add a fourth goal. At times it was just that easy.
Following an opening twenty minutes in which the hosts pressed their Spanish guests with the kind of gusto one would expect from a team managed by Brendan Rodgers, a moment of brilliance from Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a sublime effort before the floodgates swung open. While the worlds best player showed his class with the opener, what followed was, and it hurts to say this, what is becoming part and parcel of the Liverpool experience.
Liverpool traveled to London yesterday needing a win to get their season well and truly rolling, and despite deserving less than nothing from a match that bottom of the barrel Queens Park Rangers dominated throughout, they left the Capital with all three points and a bump into fifth place. Sometimes, I suppose, you get what you need.
A lack of composure from serial own-goal scorer Richard Dunne following a quickly taken Reds free-kick saw the Irishman divert Raheem Sterling’s low cross past Hoops ‘keeper Alex McCarthy to open the scoring. The hosts were knocking hard on Liverpool’s door all day and there was little surprise when they pulled level through Eduardo Vargas when he smashed home a knock-down from Charlie Austin. A 1-1 draw looked to be a good result for either side, but the calamity that followed no one could have predicted.
We never looked comfortable holding a one goal lead with just under a half hour left to play, but it came as something of a surprise to see Liverpool hang on to beat West Bromwich Albion and claim their first win since demolishing Tottenham Hotspur at the end of August. Three points — finally.
It was a whole lot of the same for much of the first half until Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson combined in stoppage time to send the Reds into the break with the lead and the former Southampton captain to the locker room with his first goal since moving to Anfield over the summer. Saido Berahino made no mistake from the spot after being gifted a penalty that never was, but Liverpool fought back with Raheem Sterling centering for Henderson to pass the ball through three Baggies players and into the net for the winner.