Liverpool needed two late goals to reach the quarter-final of the Capital One Cup for the first time since Brendan Rodgers took over at Anfield, as the Reds saw off Swansea City 2-1.
Despite the Merseyside side being on top for the most part, it was the visitors took the lead in the 65th minute, through a sublime strike from Marvin Emnes.
With just four minutes left on the clock, Liverpool desperately searched for an equaliser and had several chances. Summer signing Mario Balotelli, who had scored just once in eleven appearances before the game, came on as a substitute and made an instant impact when he met Javier Manquillo's cross with his left-foot to steer it into the net.
The game looked to be going to extra-time, however in the dying seconds of the game, defender Dejan Lovren was left unmarked and headed Philippe Coutinho's free-kick home send his side to the next round.
- Mario Balotelli relieved after Capital One Cup win
- Liverpool must sell Mario Balotelli in January
- Luis Suarez reveals excitement over Brendan Rodgers trick
Brad Jones 7
Jones was playing his first competitive game for the Reds since February, and he didn't do all that badly. The Australian was relatively untroubled by the Swans attack, however he was also alert and made a few decent collections and saves.
For Emnes' goal, Jones was left helpless and not the best goalkeeper in the world could have stopped the effort.
Overall, a very good performance from Liverpool's second choice shot-stopper and has put Simon Mignolet under a bit of pressure.
Javier Manquillo 7.5
The Spaniard didn't have all that much to do on the defending front, but did what required when needed.
It was his attacking role that really impressed. Manquillo was constantly on the charge on the right-wing, offering himself to his side's charge forward. He constant width gave freed up space for Fabio Borini on the right-hand side of the front three, and let him and his movement become a nuisance.
His ball for Mario Balotelli's goal was inch-perfect considering the circumstances, however his end product at times was quite the opposite, struggling to beat the first defender.
Kolo Toure 6.5
For a defender who has had little game time this term, Toure came in and done a decent job. He dealt with the threat of Marvin Emnes, who glued himself to the Ivory Coast international, successfully for the most part.
Toure's game was quiet - that's what he would have wanted considering he has not played much of late. However, for the Swans' goal, he could have possibly communicated with his fellow centre-back, Dejan Lovren a little better to track the run of Emnes.
Dejan Lovren 6.5
Lovren has very much struggled to find his best form since his move to Liverpool from St. Mary's. Against Hull City on Saturday and now Swansea City last night, the Croatian looks to be more comfortable in a Red shirt.
Lovren looked much more confident in this decision making and when committing himself to the tackle. Brendan Rodgers brought the 25-year-old in as a leader, and he is finally showing signs he will lead the Liverpool defence as he should.
His header to give his side the win was very intelligent, given the strange positioning that goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel was in after attempting to collect the ball.
The criticism I have of Lovren is that he was caught ball watching again. For Emnes' goal, there may have been a slight confusion between him and Toure who was marking the forward. However, replays suggest that it was Lovren and he failed to track the Dutchman's run.
Glen Johnson 6
The England international's performance was stereotypical of himself. Johnson was threating going forward and caused problems on his unflavoured left-hand side and had a couple of attempts on goal.
However, his defending was again not up to scratch. He didn't start the game the best and was troubled by Nathan Dyer in the first half especially. Clearly, it was a tactic that Gary Monk employed and it did work to relative effect.
The Brazilian hasn't played much this season, but put in a usual performance. He swept up well and protected the Liverpool defence well enough when needed.
Nonetheless, Swansea attacks came thick and far between. When Liverpool were constantly putting the Welsh side under pressure, they needed an extra body to help out in the attack. This was a perfect opportunity for the out-of-favour midfielder to impress his boss, but he did not commit to his side's attacks.
Jordan Henderson 7
Leading the Liverpool side, Henderson stamped his authority on the game. He was at the root of all his side's attacks, spreading the ball either out wide or into Philippe Coutinho.
It wasn't the former Sunderland mans type of game, as he prefers real battles in the midfield. Maybe he could have charged forward more, given that Swansea weren't all that threating up top, but with the Liverpool defence being shaky this season, he felt he may have to help them out instead of committing forwards.
His effort was faultless as per usual and showed he is more than capable to lead Liverpool when Steven Gerrard is absent.
Philippe Coutinho 8
Another superb performance from the Brazilian, who is finding that form that was so impressive was term.
Coutinho was the brains behind every Red attack, either charging at the Swans' defence with such elegance or playing some superbly weighted passes. He linked up extremely well with Fabio Borini, who's movement made it simple for the former Inter Milan man. Coutinho also troubled the Swansea goal many-a time, shooting from outside the box and almost grabbing himself a goal.
His set-pieces were also very good, with his free-kick that found Dejan Lovren for the winner putting Swansea goalkeeper Tremmel in two minds to collect the ball or stay on his line.
Liverpool have been desperate for Coutinho to again find top form and he is almost there
Fabio Borini 7.5
Cup games are a chance for squad players to impress and Borini done it to near perfection.
Too often this season, Liverpool have lacked movement up front, and that has been frustrating for fans to watch. Borini, however, brought just this, constantly dropping into space with real zip about his game and giving Coutinho an option.
In the first half, the Italian seriously threatened the Swansea goal, having two shots in quick succession - one was palmed away, the other just flying past the post. Liverpool haven't had enough shots from areas around the box this term, and his efforts gave the crowd much to rave about.
Lazar Markovic 5.5
Markovic again failed to impress. There where times were he produced some clever touches and passes, but that was about it.
The Serbian has blistering pace he displayed at Benfica so often, but we are yet to see this. Markovic is yet to really test a full-back and takes the easy option of passing instead.
Given Borini's performance, he may be even further down Brendan Rodgers' team-sheet.
Rickie Lambert 6.5
The England international worked hard for his team when out of possession, putting himself about.
However, his lack of game time is having an effect. Lambert's touch wasn't quite there and he always looked a yard off the pace of the game. There were times when his hold up play was effective but he hit several sloppy passes and gave the ball away too easily too often.
Adam Lallana 6
The former Southampton man brought a bit of sting into the Liverpool attack when he came on, making some very good individual runs. However, he struggled to make a real impact.
Mario Balotelli 7
One of Balotelli's finer performances for the Reds. His cameo brought better movement for his side and he looked motivated for a change. His equalising goal in the 86th minute shows that he does possess class.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms