Reds scrape through

2014-09-25 00:00

LONDON — Liverpool reached the fourth round of the League Cup on Tuesday after winning an epic and nerve-shredding penalty shootout 14-13 at home to second-tier Middlesbrough, with the teams ending extra time tied at 2-2.

Middlesbrough’s Albert Adomah brought the gripping penalty contest to an end when he fired wide after both teams had kept their nerve in sudden death, shattering the record for the longest shootout in the League Cup.

Liverpool, who have looked a shadow of the team who finished second in the Premier League last season in the new campaign, twice took the lead against their lower league opponents, but defensive errors were once again their undoing.

Elsewhere, Nathaniel Clyne scored with a stunning 30-metre strike as Southampton won 2-1 at Arsenal and Swansea City, who have begun the league season in confident fashion, beat Everton 3-0 with goals from Nathan Dyer, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Marvin Emnes.

In another all Premier League tie, Stoke City came back from a goal down to win 2-1 at Sunderland thanks to a double from Spaniard Marc Muniesa.

Liverpool had gone ahead through debutant Jordan Rossiter after 10 minutes but a familiar failing appeared as Adam Reach was allowed to head home unchallenged midway through the second half.

Spaniard Suso looked like he had given Liverpool victory with a low strike late in extra time, but the hosts imploded with seconds remaining as Kolo Toure conceded a penalty after a terrible backpass from Raheem Sterling. Patrick Bamford slotted home.

Sterling and Bamford were the only players to miss in the shootout, which comfortably surpassed the previous highest score record of 9-8, until Adomah fired off target.

“It was very important to get a result and the players are very happy in the changing room. We’re in the hat and that’s all we want,” said a relieved Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

Middlesbrough’s Spanish coach Aitor Karanka managed to strike an upbeat tone despite coming so close to causing a major upset. “I told the players … I don’t have the words to tell them thank you because they were brilliant.”

Clyne’s wonder goal five minutes before half time completed a superb comeback for Southampton, who fell behind to an Alexis Sanchez free-kick before levelling with a Dusan Tadic penalty.

TUESDAY NIGHT’S RESULTS

3rd rd: Arsenal 1 (Sanchez 14) Southampton 2 (Tadic 20-pen, Clyne 40). Cardiff 0 Bournemouth 3 (Gosling 9, 33, Daniels 22). Derby 2 (Russell 67, Pearce 82-og) Reading 0. Fulham 2 (Ruiz 16, Burn 32) Doncaster 1 (Coppinger 60). Leyton Orient 0 Sheffield United 1 (Higdon 2). Liverpool 2 (Rossiter 10, Suso 109) Middlesbrough 2 (Reach 62, Bamford 120-pen) after extra-time, 1-1 after 90 minutes. Liverpool win 14-13 on penalties. Milton Keynes Dons 2 (Afobe 5, 86) Bradford 0. Shrewsbury 1 (Collins 54) Norwich 0. Sunderland 1 (Altidore 16) Stoke 2 (Muniesa 31, 71). Swansea 3 (Dyer 28, Sigurdsson 64, Emnes 87) Everton 0.

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