Sunday, 28 December 2014

Liverpool v Swansea: Preview, predicted lineups, team news, prior form, stats, quotes & analysis

The Match

Liverpool have, for all the money they spent in the summer, simply not got back to the levels they achieved last season. Granted, they lost Suarez and Sturridge has been unavailable for the majority of the season, so it's understandable they'd be hit by that, but more worrying for Brendan Rodgers will be the manner of so many of the performances this season. Last season they, more often than not, simply steamrollered their opposition. This season they have, on occasion, seemed bereft of confidence and whilst I don't think Rodgers' position is in any threat, he'll be under no illusions that things need to improve. The return of Sturridge in the near future will help, but in the meantime a win over the Swans would definitely paper over some of the cracks which have formed over the course of this season.

Swansea come into the game against Liverpool off the back of their first consecutive league victories since the opening weeks of the season. What we've lost in pretty possession football we've gained in steel and grit at the back, but the key question is now whether we can combine the two in a way which brings victories and a good playing style. We're still far, far from a long ball team, but in the last few weeks we've seen more and more signs that when Leon Britton is absent, we're missing a presence at defensive midfield. After seemingly making a comeback from injury he's now missed the last two games, and we're definitely a worse team without him. Key to getting a result at Liverpool will be how we deal with the lack of a holding midfielder - adjust and we could be in with a chance of a result.

Prior Form

Sourced from

Completely guessed lineups

Team News

Statistics & Trivia

  • Liverpool have won their last 3 home matches against Swansea in all competitions.
  • Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals in their last 4 matches against Swansea in all competitions.
  • Swansea lie one place (8th) above Liverpool, having scored one more goal (23 to 22) and conceded five less (19 to 24) in eighteen league games.
  • The Swans have never won a league match at Anfield (D3, L10).
  • Liverpool have the fewest home wins (three) among teams in the top half prior to the latest round of fixtures. They have only taken 13 points from their first nine home games - last season they had 24.
  • Liverpool have won one of their last five home games in all competitions (D3, L1).
  • Raheem Sterling has scored three goals in his last three appearances (all competitions) after a 17-match goalless run.
  • Swansea have only won two of their nine away games in all competitions this season.
  • Wilfried Bony has scored the first goal of the game in three of his last four starts away from home.
  • Jonjo Shelvey has scored in both of his Swansea appearances against his former club Liverpool.

Straight from the horse's mouth


Garry Monk is confident the Swans can put in a good showing at Anfield:

“We’re looking forward to it. Liverpool have had a difficult start to the season, but Brendan has made changes and they’re becoming a very good team again. He’s one of the most mentally strong people I know. He’s been through a difficult period, but now he’s producing good results and the team are playing a lot better.

“It will be a difficult game, but Anfield is a great place to play football. We have to take belief there. We should go into the game with confidence. We didn’t deserve to lose the game in the Capital One Cup against them. But knowing we can go up there and perform like that gives us belief.

“Every game this season, barring a few minutes in each, we’ve been fantastic. We’re getting good results, which is all credit to the staff and the players. But we always strive for more.

“It’s been a great start, but we can’t get carried away. 28 points at this stage of the season is the best start we’ve had, but football can change very quickly. A couple of bad results and you start thinking differently.

“We have an understanding of what is expected of us.”

Gylfi Sigurdsson acknowledges that sometimes it's about the result more than the performance:

“To win two games 1-0 on the trot is very important to us. Even though we didn’t play our best football in the second half against Villa we managed to get a clean sheet and three points. If you look at the Tottenham game, we dominated but lost. Sometimes it’s about getting the three points and not about how you play.

“It would be great to get a third straight win - it’s going to be tough because Liverpool are turning their season around with their recent performances and we know Anfield is a tough place to go. 
"They are playing better than were at the beginning of the season but we’ve ground out those two victories in a row and we know we can go there and compete with them and hopefully get a good result to maintain our form.”


With the games coming thick & fast, Swansea to travel to a Liverpool side whose recent results have given encouragement that a return to better form may be imminent. There may only have been two wins in their last six but there also a draw against Arsenal, as well as a game against Man Utd where despite creating enough chances to win the game, they contrived to lose 3-0. They haven't performed consistently though, and this is one of the reasons they find themselves lying in tenth in the table. I don't think many would have predicted that, on the brink of the halfway point of the season, the Swans would be sitting two points above a Liverpool side who looked certain to win last year's Premier League for so long.

Swansea haven't retained possession this season anywhere near as readily as we're used to. Against Liverpool, this is where we need to return to form. If we can get hold of the ball, we have the players to hurt them. They've struggled at the back this season, with many goals conceded coming from individual errors, and with Wilf & Sigurdsson still riding on the crest of a wave we do have reason to be confident. We press high and hard, and we have the quality to punish Liverpool if we can regain possession close to their goal - especially if they play with three at the back.

The main question - and a crucial one no doubt - is how much rotation will take place, on both sides. Ki Sung-Yueng has run 3km further than any other player in the Premier League this season and has been central to our continued success, but surely he will need a rest at some point this week? The same could be said all over the pitch - Neil Taylor has played a lot of football of late, Ash hasn't missed a game in a good while now, while Sigurdsson has also racked up a lot of minutes.

With Gomis, Emnes (who scored what looked for so long to be a famous winner at Anfield in the cup earlier this season) and others pushing for a place in the team, it could well be we see some rotation in the Swansea camp. As for Liverpool, I can't say I'm confident in predicting their formation and lineup, but I had a go for fun's sake and I do think it's likely he'll go with three at the back again. Key for them, I'd say, will be isolating Sterling, Coutinho and their other tricky operators against our less pacy defenders. If Rangel starts it could be that he's tested severely for the duration, as they have the players to put us to the sword if they can get one on one. This is why we need to retain possession, and stop them playing football high up the pitch.

Do that, and I think we can stop them playing. I'm always confident, but my usual prediction of 3-1 to the Swans doesn't seem fair given I think Liverpool are a good side, who could well give us real problems. I just hope they don't find their form against us. 2-1 Swansea.