Report - Liverpool 2-1 Swansea City
28th October 2014
Swansea City still cannot avoid controversy and red cards as Federico Fernandez was sent off at Anfield as Liverpool scored twice late on to knock Garry Monk`s side out of the Capital One Cup in the fourth round.
After a dominant first half from the home side, the Swans stepped it up after the break, took the game to the Reds and took the lead on 65 minutes when Marvin Emnes volleyed home from close range. The narrow lead looked it might have been enough as we approached the final five minutes, but striker Mario Balotelli came on to net his first goal for Liverpool, converting Borini`s cross from the right flank.
The controversy then arrived when Coutinho took a heavy touch as he raced towards Swansea`s penalty area. The ball was there to be won, and in a 50-50 challenge, Fernandez came off the winner, but to everyone`s shock, the referee blew his whistle and instantly showed the Argentine the red card.
Fans, pundits, journalists and both managers have all agreed that it was an awful decision, and Garry Monk will look to avoid losing the defender for three games with an appeal.
The Swans made five changes to the side that beat Leicester City 2-0 last Saturday. The back four remained unchanged, Tremmel replaced Fabianski in goal while in midfield, Marvin Emnes and Jay Fulton replaced Ki and Sigurdsson respectively. Dyer also replaced Routledge after he was dropped last weekend in favour of Jefferson Montero - who kept his place at Anfield. Bafetimbi Gomis was given another starting opportunity.
The first half was one dominated by Brendan Rodgers` side, as Monk`s team was setup to sit back, defend and invite pressure. Thankfully, the men in red lacked quality in the final third. The last pass rarely created a threat as they were either dealt with easily by the defence and goalkeeper or they went harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
Liverpool`s best chance came through Manquillo, who got himself into a great position just to the left of the goal, and with space to shoot, he skewed a left footed effort well wide of the target. It was a let off for the Swans, as the hosts started to improve and grow in quality.
Due to sitting so deep, the Swans had no chance of creating anything early on. Possession was picked up in defence but the ball rarely got into Liverpool`s half. The wingers lacked any support on the flanks, Gomis too was on his own as Shelvey and Fulton refused to push beyond the centre circle.
Former loanee Fabio Borini also had a couple of effort on goal, one flying just wide and the other palmed out for a corner by Tremmel. The Swans finally started to get forward late on in the half and went close to stealing the lead before the break. Shelvey sent in a testing cross for the goalkeeper who did well to parry it away to safety.
Thankfully, the second half saw Swansea City push up and took the game to Liverpool. They no longer sat off the hosts, started to enjoy some decent spells of possession and kept the Reds quiet for the early part of the second half.
5 minutes before taking the lead, Gomis heads Shelvey`s corner straight at the goalkeeper. But it was Emnes who found the net. The former Middlesbrough forward is an interesting player to say the least. You never quite know what you`re going to get from the Dutchman. He`s quite capable of an excellent finish, he scored an excellent 20-yard goal earlier in the competition against Everton, and you cannot forget his winning goal away at Cardiff City some years ago.
Tonight`s finish from Marvin was top drawer stuff too. As Taylor made his way into the box, the box richochets off a Liverpool player and nicely into Emnes` path. With his back to goal, he watches the call come down, swivels to volley it across the 6 yard area, past the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.
A stunning finish, and given Liverpool`s lack of chances in the second 45, they needed some similar inspiration in front of goal. Rodgers soon brings on much-talked-about frontman Mario Balotelli. Yet to score for his new club, the Italian has not only been criticised for his lack of goals, but also a lack of effort.
Unfortunately for the Swans, not much effort was needed from him to net the equaliser after 86 minutes, 21 minutes after Emnes` opener. Fabio Borini, who was having a decent game, sent in a perfect cross from the right, his fellow countryman only had to stick out a leg to direct it past Tremmel.
It was poor defending on Swansea`s part. Not for the first time have Monk`s side failed to stop a cross, and failed to defend it. It was a similar goal to the one that Newcastle scored to get a share of the spoils at the Liberty Stadium a few weeks ago.
But the truly controversial moment came shortly afterwards. A third sending off already for the Swans, but unlike Bony`s against Southampton, this one wasn`t deserved. it was a 50-50 challenge with Coutinho, resulting in the defender winning the ball and clearing the threat. The referee had been biased to the visitors earlier on in the game. Fulton picked up a harsh booking, while Taylor was also very unfortunate to go in the referee`s book as well. Borini had hurt the full back earlier in the game with a challenge but the Liverpool striker wasn`t cautioned. However, Taylor got his revenge with a ball-winning tackle but was shown yellow.
Gerhard Tremmel was a safe pair of hands and dealt with everything that came his way - that was up until injury time at least. The German fluffed at a free kick from the left, coming out at his far post. He completely missed the ball and Lovren headed into an empty net.
Liverpool used their get out of jail card. They were relieved, not just with the win, but to finally see Balotelli net his first goal for the club, but then again, you`d expect any top flight striker to score those.
Swansea really should have seen the game out, having led up until the 86th minute. The defending needed to be better, but they should have at least got the chance to go into extra time with eleven men.
The red card should be rescinded but despite Swansea`s hopes of progressing in the League Cup ending, they can take positives from the performance. It was also good to see Fulton back in the starting line-up, he looks a good alternative in midfield while Montero created problems again on the left flank.