We told you we could do it! There was a general sense of scepticism amongst Reds fans ahead of the Manchester City game las Sunday, but as predicted by this column there was nothing for us to fear at a rampant Anfield.
You see, teams that utilise an aggressive high press against City will have joy because it is the easiest way to cut off the supply to their key men: starving the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling – who was given a rough reception on his return to Merseyside – of the ball is essential. And, the added bonus is that John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi and co are always likely to drop a clanger or two when pressured on the ball, and that is exactly what came to pass….
Indeed, two of our goals can be attributed to City’s own mistakes: Sadio Mane’s powerful drive coming from an Otamendi loose pass, while Ederson’s rash clearance landed straight at the feet of Mo Salah; and there’s a man that needs no persuasion to find the net.
Bobby Firmino capitalised on Stones’ dawdling had put us in the lead after Sane had cancelled out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener, and while two late City goals gave the scoreline a suggestion of proximity it has to be said that we were well and truly deserving of the three points. Jurgen Klopp’s hoodoo over the ‘big six’ continues.
It would be a typically Liverpool thing to do then to throw away points against the bottom-of-the-table side after humbling the league leaders. The Reds travel to Swansea on Monday night, and while accounting for results elsewhere could consolidate third position with a victory over Carlos Carvajal’s strugglers. Then, the focus would be on usurping Manchester United in second.
Liverpool Team News
With no game in midweek immediately following Monday’s clash, there will surely be a temptation to field an unchanged side on Jurgen Klopp’s part – something of a rarity from the gaffer!
You could not really pick fault in anybody’s performance against City, albeit accounting for the culpability of Joe Gomez and Loris Karius for their first goal.
Karius remains a curate’s egg between the sticks. He seems confident enough and appears to have the basic requirements of a top-class goalkeeper, but every time he plays it seems as if schoolboy errors are never far away. Klopp seems something in him though clearly, and he tends to be loyal to those he believes in.
The Swansea game might come too soon for the return of injured trio of Jordan Henderson, Alberto Moreno and Virgil van Dijk, and so the FA Cup clash with West Brom on Saturday January 27 is their more likely point of entry.
And so an unchanged starting eleven is in the offing. The midfield trio of Emre Can, Gigi Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain worked well against the Citizens, while there are no fitness concerns over the fab three up front.
Swansea City Form
The league table does not make for pretty reading for Swansea fans….although there could be signs of green shoots of recovery.
While the writing was on the wall for Paul Clement for quite some time, new boss Carlos Carvahal has overseen something of a recovery: the Swans have drawn with and then beaten Wolves in the FA Cup, and defeated Watford in the Premier League under his stewardship. We expect this to be a wholly different Swansea outfit to the one we beat 5-0 on Boxing Day.
They have won more points on the road than they have on home soil, however, with their supporters being able to cheer just six goals in eleven starts at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea City vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Just how do you stop this Liverpool juggernaut? With 20 goals scored in our last six Premier League games that is a very difficult question to answer.
Swansea’s home form (W2 D2 L7) will not fill their supporters with optimism, and the fact they average 0.55 goals for per game at the Liberty Stadium and 1.55 against this term speaks volumes.
The only side on a par with us in an attacking sense is Manchester City, and they beat the Swans 0-4 on Welsh soil back in December. Assuming Klopp picks a strong side, there is no reason to suggest anything other than a similar scoreline is in the offing here.
The Reds can be backed at 1/3 to win this match, and high roller punters will tuck into that with relish. But shrewdies will instead opt for the -1.25 Asian Handicap mark at 8/11: this will pay as a winner if Liverpool triumph by two or more goals, with half our stake refunded if they win by one.