Liverpool, Chelsea stumble into last eight

Mario Balotelli enjoyed a rare moment of ecstasy in a Liverpool shirt by inspiring a 2-1 win over Swansea City in the League Cup on Tuesday while Chelsea had to call for reinforcements to see off Shrewsbury Town.

Liverpool have seen precious little in Balotelli's performances this season to convince them he could ride to the rescue when the chips were down but he came off the bench to turn the clash with Swansea on its head.

Entering the fray on 79 minutes, the Italian took seven minutes to level the scores as he stole in front of his marker to prod home a cross from compatriot Fabio Borini after Marvin Emnes had put Swansea ahead midway through the second half with a superb volley.

A sustained roar erupted around Anfield as Balotelli's effort found the net, as much in celebration of the goal as it was grounded in relief that the misfiring striker had finally found his range at a crucial time. It was the start of a dramatic finale that saw Swansea's Federico Fernandez sent off for a late tackle and Dejan Lovren head home the winner after four minutes of stoppage time, to leave eight-times winners Liverpool well-placed. 

Premier League leaders Chelsea will also fancy their chances of getting their hands on a cup they have won four times but they needed a wake-up call before ousting fourth tier Shrewsbury 2-1.

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