LONDON, October 29-Mario Balotelli scored just his second goal for Liverpool in 12 appearances as they came from behind to beat Premier League rivals Swansea 2-1 and advance into the last eight of the League Cup at Anfield on Tuesday.
Balotelli has struggled since his £16 million ($26 million, 20 million euros) pre-season move from AC Milan and on Tuesday he was on the bench until 11 minutes from time.
When the Italian striker was sent on by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers — a former Swansea manager — Liverpool were trailing 1-0 to Marvin Emnes’s 65th-minute goal.
But four minutes from time Balotelli evaded the visitors’ defence to equalise
Then, with extra-time looming, Swansea’s Federico Fernandez was controversially sent off for a challenge on Philippe Coutinho.
And in the fifth minute of stoppage-time, Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren got on the end of a Coutinho free-kick that Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel came for and missed to head home the winner — his first goal for Liverpool.
Balotelli posted a one-word tweet of “finally” to express his relief at scoring, while Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe said: “He is working hard in training and he got his just rewards coming on and getting the goal.”
Meanwhile Swansea manager Garry Monk said he hoped referee Keith Stroud would overturn Fernandez’s red card.
“How he saw that as a red card… but Keith is a good referee, hopefully he will see sense and rescind it for us.”
Premier League leaders Chelsea survived a scare before seeing off fourth-tier Shrewsbury 2-1.
Jermaine Grandison’s own goal broke home side Shrewsbury’s hearts with nine minutes left when he turned in Willian’s cross.
Shrewsbury kept the game goalless for more than half the match until Didier Drogba finished from close range in the 48th minute for his third goal in as many matches and in three different competitions.
But Shrewsbury substitute Andy Mangan equalised just 84 seconds after coming on in the 75th minute before Grandison’s unlucky intervention decided the match.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was adamant he always expected a tough match.
“I didn’t change my feelings (that) the game was going to be difficult. “It was difficult from minute one to the last minute.”
Proud Shrews boss Micky Mellon added: “I just said to the players if someone would have said that we would have felt gutted and disappointed at the end of a game against Chelsea, we probably would have taken that emotion because it meant we would have been pleased, but we’re gutted because we lost it on little bits of detail.”
– Bournemouth beat West Brom –
However, Chelsea’s top-flight rivals West Bromwich Albion were knocked out by Championship side Bournemouth, losing 2-1 as the Cherries — fresh from their 8-0 thrashing of Birmingham — reached the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time in the south coast side’s history.
Eunan O’Kane gave hosts Bournemouth a 49th-minute lead and, after Georgios Samaras’s shot deflected in off Tommy Elphick in the 85th-minute, the Cherries scored the winner barely 60 seconds later through substitute Callum Wilson.
“I thought the lads were excellent,” said Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.
“The guys that came in, it’s never easy but they were superb and I’m delighted for the fans and the club.”
The all-Championship game saw second-tier leaders Derby County come from two goals behind to beat Fulham 5-2 at Craven Cottage.
Sheffield United needed two goals in the final four minutes from Michael Higdon to beat fellow third-tier club Milton Keynes Dons 2-1.
League Cup holders Manchester City face Newcastle on Wednesday, while Stoke play Southampton — having lost 1-0 to the Premier League high-flyers last weekend — and Tottenham Hotspur welcome second-tier Brighton to White Hart Lane.