Liverpool left it late against Championship side Bolton Wanderers as goals from Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho ensured that the Reds will travel to Selhurst Park in the 5th round to face Crystal Palace.
It was a game that Liverpool dominated but were continuously denied by the post and the crossbar. Zach Clough, Bolton’s 19-year old striker made the most of a challenge by Martin Skrtel to earn his side a penalty early in the second half that Eidur Gudjohnsen slotted in the 59th minute. From then on, an upset was on the cards but Liverpool were handed a lifeline in the 66th minute when Neil Danns was sent off for a second yellow card after a reckless challenge on Joe Allen.
After the red card incident, Liverpool found more space but still couldn’t test Bolton’s stand in goalkeeper Andy Lonergan. In the 71st minute, Bolton should’ve doubled their lead after Gudjohnsen was found out well by a cross, but his header was straight at Simon Mignolet. Liverpool kept on probing and were finally rewarded after Emre Can found Raheem Sterling with a wonderful lob pass that the 20-year old buried past Lonergan. With extra time looming, Liverpool went in search of a winner and clinched the game when Coutinho’s shot hit the underside of the crossbar and went in.
Earlier in the first half, the game was played at a very slow pace as Bolton did everything to make their side compact against a Liverpool side that went with an ambitious lineup despite a Merseyside Derby looming.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that he was happy with the result and the number of chances created by his side that eventually led to the win, “It was always going to be a tough game. Neil Lennon has done a brilliant job since he’s come into here and made the team very difficult to beat”, Rodgers told the BBC.
“We had a lot of chances after they got the penalty, which was nowhere near a penalty, and I think the players again showed the character and the spirit that’s within the team.
“We had a lot of attackers on and in the end their quality came through.
“I’m delighted. A tough game over two legs, but thankfully we’re through.”
“Our momentum is still going. Over the last eight weeks the character of the team and the consistency of the team has really gone up another level.
“We want to keep it going. This is a competition we want to do well in.”