Goal 'just rewards' for Balotelli, says Liverpool assistant

Colin Pascoe praised the Reds’ attitude after late goals from the Italian and Dejan Lovren sealed a dramatic Cup comeback against Swansea City

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli’s goal against Swansea City was “just rewards” for his hard work, says assistant manager Colin Pascoe.

The Italian has been widely criticised for his performances since joining the Reds from AC Milan this summer but his equaliser seven minutes after coming off the bench prompted a comeback in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday.

Balotelli had been seen to be sent from the warm-ups before the game but Pascoe revealed that it was over an injury scare that necessitated his starting on the bench.

“He twisted his studs in the ground, that’s all,” Pascoe told the press. “He felt something in his knee but, as you can see, he came on and his knee looked alright.

“Mario is working hard in training and he got his just rewards in getting the goal. He’s a tremendous talent and it was great for him to get the goal.”

“We were unfortunate to be 1-0 down,” Brendan Rodgers’ No.2 added. “The way we played was possibly the best we’ve played all season with the character to keep going and get the win in the end.

“The way we played, we were always likely to create a chance. You’ve got to win your cup ties and get through to the next round. Even if it was late, it’s a great feeling.”

Swansea manager Garry Monk declared himself disappointed with the decision to show Federico Fernandez a late red card and expects the club to appeal, a sentiment with which Pascoe sympathises.

“I can see why they’re not happy, to be honest,” he remarked. “I didn’t think it was a sending-off. It was just unfortunate, they both slipped. It’s unfortunate for Swansea that the lad got sent off.”

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