Liverpool 2 Balotelli 86', Lovren 90+4',
Swansea City 1 Emnes 65',
- The hero of the last round, Jordan Rossiter, was on the bench. Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling were not even in the matchday squad. Restored to the force balance was.
- Liverpool started brightly full of enterprise in the opening half hour full of crisp passing and good attacking movement. The players all looked comfortable, with Philippe Coutinho in particular impressing on the ball. However, Gerhard Tremmel had little to do in Swansea City's goal. Liverpool's performance wasn't particularly exceptional, just more of what a Liverpool fan would expect to see and as a result, it was a welcome sight.
- The last five minutes of the first half were ragged from Liverpool as Swansea seemed more dangerous or Liverpool increased the jitters. It was a somewhat satisfactory goalless draw, if such a thing exists in the world of football when a side is at home to a supposed smaller one. It was the sort of first half that Liverpool should have expected to build on in the second half to secure a home victory, which would be the only acceptable result after failing last week's results.
- The second half started off at a good pace and it was relatively even for the first fifteen minutes of the second half. Spaces began to open up and it started to look like the sort of match where mistakes or just a goal from nowhere could provide a telling advantage.
- That's how Swansea scored. A ball over the top and it was hooked in on the volley by Marvin Emnes. The game kicked off for about five minutes where there were chances for both sides before the game settled down once more. Liverpool needed a spark and Brendan Rodgers turned to Adam Lallana for the disappointing Lazar Marković. Mario Balotelli followed Lallana from the bench in place of Rickie Lambert. Still nothing. Goal! Mario Balotelli! 1-1
- In added on time, as the game was stretched with the home side in pursuit of a late winner, Swansea were down to ten men. Federico Fernández was sent off for a poor challenge on Coutinho. Would the loss of a Swansea defender give Liverpool any advantage in the final few minutes of the game? Affirmative! The head of Dejan Lovren provided Liverpool with a late winner.
- Liverpool seemed a little ragged in the second half after going behind but did what was needed to win. Just about. To secure a victory in normal time was exactly what was required and that's what Liverpool did. Some players were rested, some improvements need to be made, and some tactics need to be utilised far more often (diamond, cough cough). It was good for Lovren and Balotelli to make decisive contributions after tough start for both players. Hopefully, there'll be more to come from the both of them and Liverpool FC.
We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.