Full time at Anfeild: Match Review Swansea 1-Liverpool 2
SWANSEA V LIVERPOOL: MATCH REVIEW
It’s easy to put teams under pressure at home, get the first goals, more pressure, maybe some more goals, and then ride out any last gasp efforts from the opposition to see out another 3-point match-day; but what shows real character is coming from behind, far away from home, against a side with a passing football culture that sometimes rivals Barcelona. It wasn’t to be Liverpool’s day early on in the match but with a great show of character, Klopp’s men may have just shown that they too, like Champions, can come from behind, grind every piece of grass and dirt in the park to get those precious 3 points by the time the ref’s whistle blows for fulltime.
That was the story after Klopp’s 11 strode on to the Liberty Stadium, Loris Karius getting another nod as keeper behind our 4-3-3 of Clyne, Matip, Lovren, and Milner as our back four; Lallana, Henderson, and Wijnaldum looking to sure-up the middle while assisting our forwards, Mane, Firmino, and Coutinho against a Swansea side looking to pick up where they left off in May with that 3-1 home victory.
With such a chip on our shoulders, this match was critical to Kop confidence in enemy territory and our League aspirations as a whole.
Early possession from both teams had the clash deadlocked in the middle but Swansea looked the fresher of the two showing real intent early on, something we’ve grown to see Liverpool do to other teams but seemed to get contained with relative ease by the Swans. It was only a matter of time for our fears to rear up its ugly head as a swift counter-attack had us on the backfoot with Sigurdsson riding dangerously into our final third but some last gasp defending gave away the corner. It was to be a momentary stay of execution as a perfectly delivered corner found Borja at the far post who knocked it back in the path of van der Hoorn, who stretched to get a toe-poke on the ball for Fer to get the final touch ensuring it crossed the line. A scrappy goal but says a lot of LFC as we were a bit content to zone-mark a freaking corner. 1-0 to the home side.
The goal got a bit of urgency in our boys, the sort we displayed before putting Arsenal to the sword after going down against them as well, but this time it was different because as fluid as their passing is, the Swans do know a thing or two about keeping a resilient back line as good tackles and well-timed interceptions kept Liverpool swinging wildly and catching air early in this first half. It took up to the 30th minute and a first half substitution, after Sturridge came in for an injured Lallana, for Liverpool to start exerting their will on proceedings but still not quite testing Fabianski as much of our attack kept getting quelled by a sea of swans; but silver lining was we were pretty much camped in their final third.
Attack after attack had Swansea’s 11 behind the ball and working overtime to keep Liverpool at bay and they did so successfully until the half-time whistle to go into the break ahead. A lot to think about but with Liverpool on the ascendancy fireworks was to be expected in the second half.
Ten minutes into the second half and we could have been 2-goals down had Routledge not neglected to shoot deciding instead to pass the ball off after finding himself in acres of space. Only 3 minutes after that Sturridge’s off-the-ball movement shook up Swansea’s defenses and an attempt to stop a crucial Liverpool break saw Britton goaded into committing a professional foul on Mane, taking one for his team as the ref cautioned his actions.
A freekick from Coutinho kick-started the Kop comeback at the Emirates stadium, and his today after that foul on Mane proved important but was blocked by Swansea’s goal-scorer, Fer, momentary respite as Henderson got on to the ball delivering a fine chip over the surprised Swans to find Firmino in acres of space and enough time to pick a spot with his header in at the bottom left corner to get the match on level terms. 1-1!!!
That goal brought in wave after wave of Liverpool attacks with Swansea doing their best to hang on while posing a few questions of their own at Liverpool’s goal, desperate for victory in front of their home fans for the first time this season, and almost had it with a gem of a corner swung in that had Karius attempting to punch it out but missing it entirely; our defense seemed flat-footed as it went by but there was no one to convert the chance at the far post.
Ten minutes to go and it seemed both teams would have to settle for a point each but Firmino had other ideas getting in to the right place at the right time to draw a foul as Angel Rangel got him down in the box after the Swans failed to deal with the loose ball before the Brazilian strode in to get the chance.
Milner stepped up to the spot to take the resulting penalty and had no problems converting as he roofed the ball down the center with pace. 2-1!!!!
The Swans got a late chance to grab the equalizer with the ball falling kindly for Van Der Hoorn at the far right post to drive home the sitter but he could only steer it wide.
At fulltime it was to be James Milner’s penalty that got us the 3 points, suspense-filled encounter but great to get back to Merseyside with maximum points and a momentary jump up to second on the log.
Man of the Match: SADIO MANE – While others seemed a bit tired (from getting the nod for almost all our league matches), Mane looked a constant threat in Swansea’s final third, his on and off-the-ball movements virtually impossible to defend against, his pace, unpredictability, and work rate had the Swans in disarray and ultimately got them just right for Liverpool to pick apart. Great day at the office!