Liverpool are through to the next round of the FA Cup to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park after late goals from Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, two players who are still young and developing. The game proved to be a difficult one to navigate through but didn't end in another upset in a round where many of the Premier League's brighter lights were surprisingly dimmed.
For the fans, it's good to see Liverpool triumph a game after coming back from behind. The late goals may bring a sense of relief too, but Liverpool have already shown such character in domestic cup action. Late goals from current outcasts Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli secured a late win over Swansea City to reach the League Cup quarter-finals. For the players, such a battle against lower league opposition illustrates the need to be switched on and avoid any complacency. For Brendan Rodgers, this competition offers a chance of maintaining momentum, and he praised his side's mental strength after the game.
"We have a great habit at the minute, which is winning games," said Rodgers after his side's dramatic victory. "You can't question the character, they've shown that in my time here. There's a real strong mentality. We needed to arrest the momentum that was going the other way after the Crystal Palace game and we did that with seven points out of nine, but it was then putting something in place to get us back operating to how we have done. And now that momentum has come the other way the last seven, eight weeks; the team is back at the level, technically and the intensity of the game, and it's pleasing as you can see the confidence."
Liverpool have started a tough month of fixtures with the appropriate spirit. The manager's confidence in the players available for selection has been a source of much discussion since he took over two-and-a-half seasons ago, but appears to trust his main group of regular starters and squad members. Such confidence in the group is essential, and the leading candidate for Premier League Manager of the Month for January thought his side clearly deserved success on the night.
"It was more justice [than relief], even at 1-0 I expected us to win, the confidence of the team at the moment is very high. We had some chances in the first half, didn't quite take them, and then we go a goal down to what was never a penalty. Our composure and quality after that moment was very, very good and we scored two but we could have had many more."
More of that "great habit" will be required to avoid heartbreak on a trip to Crystal Palace on Valentine's Day in the Sixth Round of the FA Cup. There are other pressing dates before then, where this growing confidence and mental strength will face greater tests than a determined Bolton Wanderers side.