Sterling scores for Liverpool after 51-pass move - video
Reds book a place in the League Cup semi-finals with a much needed win over Bournemouth
Bournemouth 1 Liverpool 3. Liverpool's season got a much-needed shot in the arm as they advanced to the League Cup semi-finals with a convincing win over Championship leaders Bournemouth and sent a message to their detractors by opening the scoring after a remarkable 51-pass move.
The pressure was on for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers ahead of the tricky quarter-final tie on the south coast, but in the end his side prevailed.
Two goals for Raheem Sterling, the first capping a two-and-a-half-minute build-up, and a first Liverpool strike for winger Lazar Markovic were enough for the Premier League side, despite a late rally from Bournemouth in which they pulled a goal back.
"In the end the overriding emotion was one of relief, even if Rodgers listed a plethora of positive adjectives to describe the attacking performance," writes Alan Smith for The Guardian. "Liverpool are by no means out of the woods and problems could crop up again when Arsenal come to Anfield on Sunday in the Premier League."
But they can take pleasure in a "defiant and even dizzying" performance says the Daily Mail. "Soon enough they will be under the spotlight again, but this was a gutsy display and at least temporarily lifted the gloom that has enveloped this club."
And the first goal was one to savour. "There were a staggering 51 passes in the build up to Sterling's opener, a head-turning move that left Bournemouth’s defence utterly bewildered," drools the paper.
Liverpool's reward is a showdown with Chelsea in the semi-finals. "Only time will tell if the tide has turned in their season, and a two-legged tussle against Chelsea to reach Wembley will be tough, but this was hugely encouraging," says Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph.
In the night's other quarter-final Spurs beat Newcastle 4-0 at White Hart Lane, they will be favourites to make the final after being drawn against Sheffield United in the second semi-final.