CARLING CUP WRAP: Liverpool ease past Exeter as all top flight clubs win
Liverpool headlined a clean sweep for Premier League clubs in the second round of the Carling Cup on Wednesday night.
The Reds gave Kenny Dalglish his 200th win in charge of the club with a comfortable 3-1 result at League One Exeter City thanks to goals from Luis Suarez (23rd minute), Maxi Rodriguez (55') and Andy Carroll (58') before the home side grabbed a consolation penalty through Daniel Nardiello with ten minutes remaining.
Contrary to reports, Dalglish played a fairly strong Liverpool side which included two of the goalscorers starting before Carroll replaced Raul Meireles after just 20 minutes as well as a decent midfield line which had Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Jay Spearing in tow.
After four top flight clubs were bundled out last night - QPR, Norwich City, Swansea City and Sunderland - tonight was a different story with the more fancied teams flexing their muscle in the League Cup.
Blackburn Rovers were set for a cricket score against Sheffield Wednesday when they were 3-0 up after seven minutes but the visitors held their own after a disastrous start to finally fall 3-1 after Clinton Morrison's 50th minute goal with his first touch of the match.
Prior to that, Ruben Rochina fired home in the third and fourth minutes after being fed by Brett Emerton and David Goodwillie respectively before the latter grabbed a third for the Rovers in the seventh minute when he pounced on a defensive error to finish neatly.
Still in the Lancashire area and Bolton Wanderers overcame a slow start to eventually haul in League Two Macclesfield Town 2-1 which was inspired by Tuncay Sanli's debut goal (in the 56th minute) for the club which canceled out Emile Sinclair's 11th minute opener.
Martin Petrov spared the blushes of Owen Coyle's men when he scored the winner in the 73rd minute - set up by Tuncay - to but the Trotters into the third round of the competition where they will be joined by Everton who downed Sheffield United 3-1 after falling behind when Richard Cresswell struck in the 28th minute.
Luckily for the Toffees, Cresswell became the Blades' villain three minutes later when he got the final touch after Jack Rodwell's blast was parried away by goalkeeper Steve Simonsen before Victor Anichebe and Mikel Arteta finished the job before half-time.
In the other second round match, Middlesbrough won 2-0 at Peterborough United thanks to goals from Barry Robson and Seb Hines whilst revised first round matches saw Paolo Di Canio's Swindon Town defeat Bristol City 1-0 away whilst League Two Aldershot Town scored two late goals to dispose of West Ham United 2-1 at Upton Park.