Liverpool have progressed through to the fifth round of the FA Cup by the narrowest of margins, after beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at the Macron Stadium last night.
However, the Merseyside club can count themselves fortunate, having left it late to equalise and then secure the victory, after a red card acted as the turning point in the match.
Having only just seen his club go ahead in the tie when Eidur Gudjohnsen converted a penalty, Bolton midfielder Neil Danns effectively cost his team a place in the fifth round by lunging in for the second time on Joe Allen.
Danns should know better
Having been booked in the first half for a similar incident, the midfielder’s foolish decision acted as the turning point in the game. After the red card, Liverpool had nearly all of the possession. A shot by Jordan Henderson deflected onto the post, before Bolton’s goalkeeper, Andy Lonergan, brilliantly tipped Emre Can’s thunderous strike on to the bar.
Bolton manager Neil Lennon may also look back on his decision to substitute Zach Clough off as one that he regrets, as the 19-year-old troubled Liverpool’s defenders on numerous occasions.
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Lennon will have mixed emotions
Lennon may further regret his decision as the man who replaced Clough, Liam Trotter, lost Raheem Sterling before the Liverpool forward tucked his volley away to equalise on the 86th minute.
With the game looking like it was going to extra time the Brazilian, Philippe Coutinho, maintained his current sparkling form by unleashing a ferocious winner past Lonergan during the 91st minute.
Reds Brendan Rodgers will be relieved to leave Lancashire with a place in the fifth round and they will have to play a lot better to overcome Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
However, this difficult tie has not diminished the growing sense of optimism around the club. For the first time since Liverpool’s terrific run of form towards the end of last season, they have gained a serious amount of momentum.
Next they face Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday. This current run of good form Liverpool have found themselves in could well be the difference in the Merseyside Derby.