Liverpool 2-1 Swansea: Good Game, Bad Game – Jones, Borini, Coutinho; Markovic, Lambert, Hendo

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After Liverpool stunned Swansea City with a late 2-1 victory at Anfield in the League Cup, Jack Lusby rates which Reds impressed and who disappointed.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 28, 2014: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring the second goal against Swansea City in injury time during the Football League Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 2-1 Swansea City, League Cup Fourth Round, Tuesday 28 October.

Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool surprised everyone as a late surge ensured their progress to the Capital One Cup Quarter Finals at the expense of the manager’s former club Swansea City.

Goals from Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren cancelled out Marvin Emnes’ exquisite second-half volley to give the Reds a rare positive with a 2-1 victory at Anfield.

Now Rodgers will be looking to capitalise on this win as Liverpool’s congested fixture list continues.

Having deployed a handful of fringe players, and given others a bigger responsibility, the performances of some Reds on Tuesday night may have an impact on Rodgers’ first-team selection in the coming weeks.

So let’s play Good Game, Bad Game. Who impressed and who failed to impress for Liverpool against Swansea?

 

A good game for Brad Jones

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, October 28, 2014: Liverpool's goalkeeper Brad Jones in action against Swansea City during the Football League Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Replacing the shaky Simon Mignolet on Tuesday night was Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones, and the Liverpool No. 1 gave a good account of himself in the absence of the Belgian.

With little to do for large portions of the match, Jones’ quality was palpable in the confidence instilled in his back four—Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Lovren and Glen Johnson often actually performing as a unit.

Furthermore, the shot-stopper outlined some qualities that Mignolet seems bereft of.

This, naturally however, came on a night where Swansea rarely troubled the Reds’ goal; it remains to be seen whether Jones can truly challenge Mignolet during his run of poor form.

 

A bad game for Lazar Markovic

PRESTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 19, 2014: Liverpool's new signing Lazar Markovic during a preseason friendly match against Preston North End at Deepdale Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lazar Markovic, the £20 million summer signing from Benfica, continued to struggle after starting for Liverpool on Tuesday night—it is early days, but the youngster is looking out-of-sorts so far this season.

Deployed on the left-hand side of the forward line, Markovic struggled from the start.

This was encapsulated in a horrific miss on 27 minutes after some fine work by Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho, but it was Markovic’s overall play that flew wide of the mark.

Taking a very wide position on the left flank, it can be argued that this tactical layout did not suit the forward’s qualities best, but Markovic is yet to show the requisite quality to be entrusted with his favoured central role.

At just 20 years old, the jury is still out on Markovic, but the Serbian has so far failed to show even a glimpse of the incredible potential touted on his move from Portugal.

 

A good game for Philippe Coutinho

As a handful of the Liverpool squad continue to at odds with the challenge ahead, Brazilian playmaker Coutinho stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Against Swansea, this was no different.

The 22-year-old ran things from the No. 10 position, creating chance after chance—it was Coutinho’s lofted free-kick that found Dejan Lovren at the far post for Liverpool’s late, late winner.

https://twitter.com/MostarLFC/status/527192880755253248

Oozing confidence, Coutinho’s creative might seemed on a completely different level with that of his teammates at times.

Bizarrely benched against Hull City last weekend, Coutinho’s excellent form should make him a shoe-in to start against both Newcastle United and Real Madrid in Liverpool’s next two fixtures.

 

A bad game for Rickie Lambert

Hometown hero Rickie Lambert has yet to make his mark following his return to Merseyside and, given the opportunity to lead the line against Swansea, failed to shake this albatross on Tuesday night.

Some intelligent hold-up play aside, Lambert struggled to impose himself on the Swansea defence, although this could be said to be partly down to Rodgers’ utilising the 4-2-3-1 formation once more.

The England striker would be more effective as part of a front two.

With Balotelli once more grabbing the headlines with his second goal for the club, Lambert may be forced once more into the periphery, where his desperation to impress will develop dangerously.

 

A good game for Fabio Borini

Unlike Lambert, when Italian outcast Fabio Borini was given his opportunity to impress as part of the forward line on Tuesday night, he took it.

Lining up on the right-hand side of the attack, Borini often found himself coming inside to support the floundering Lambert, and the majority of Liverpool’s best chances came through the 23-year-old.

The striker persevered despite the Reds’ woes, and eventually set up Balotelli’s equaliser with a fine cross.

Borini has often spoken of his intention to break into the first-team picture at Anfield, even snubbing both Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland in the summer transfer window in order to stay, and this display clearly meant a lot to the former Swansea striker.

https://twitter.com/borinifabio29/status/527238910989320192

Showing the gut-busting determination of Dirk Kuyt, and some true quality in the final third, Borini may have gone some length to forcing his way back in to Rodgers’ first-team plans for the coming weeks.

 

A bad game for Jordan Henderson

Unfortunately for Jordan Henderson, being named captain for the night did not stimulate quite the performance that was hoped from the Englishman; although this is at a stretch, as every average Henderson display still offers flashes of quality.

The 24-year-old is enduring a rare rough patch on Merseyside, and he shrank as the game went on.

However, Liverpool’s victory in the absence of Steven Gerrard, and in turn with Henderson stewarding, may be significant in showing Rodgers and his charges that gutsy victories such as that of Tuesday night can be achieved without their Captain Fantastic.

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Who impressed you the most for Liverpool on Tuesday night? And who could have done more? Let us know in the comments below.

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