Liverpool victorious again as reds drown Swans
Francesco Guidolin’s future at Swansea hung by the thinnest thread. Before kick off, his team had lost four of the last five Premier League games. They hadn’t won in the Premier League since the opening day of the day season.
And the fact that Amercian owners Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien were in town for what was described as a routine visit won’t have reassured him.
right up until the 84th minute, Guidolin might have expressed himself satisfied with proceedings. Not only had his team performed well, looked far from a group of players disillusioned with their manager, but they had even threatened to win the game.
The crowd had chanted his name supportively. He seemed to have done enough to at least buy a stay of execution. Yet then came the lose clearance, as Modou Barrow hooked the ball high into the air.
It bounced almost at the spot from which he had launched it, in front of Roberto Firmino. Angel Rangel panicked, gave the Brazilian a gentle push and down he crashed. Michael Oliver thought for a second, pointed to the spot and James Milner cooly chipped the ball in. It was 2-1.
And that was enough. There might still have been salvation, when with the clock about to turn to 93 minutes, a sweeping cross from Rangel was met by Mike Van der Hoorn, sliding in at close range, with Liverpool exposed and Loris Karius as good as beaten. But he could only direct the ball wide.
And so, the late night crisis meeting between owners and chairman Huw Jenkins will be convened. Results will be considered, agents will be called, and quite possibly Guidolin will be summoned to learn his fate.
And yet this was not really a performance deserving of the sack. On the back of their impressive wins against Hull, Chelsea and Leicester it might have been expected that Liverpool would start with energy and tempo. Conversely, Swansea ought to have been tentative.
And yet Swansea started in overdrive, on top of Liverpool and never allowing them to dominate the opening exchanges. When Wayne Routledge crossed on five minutes, Borja, making his first Premier League start, really should have scored, guiding his header over the bar.
No matter; on ten minutes Sigurdsson’s corner was met cleanly by Borja, who headed it across goal. Van der Hoorn helped it on with faintest of touches and Leroy Fer was on hand on the line to ensure it went in.
Liverpool were firmly on the back foot. Kept in their box, unable to harry opponents they looked a tepid version of the bubbling side that thrashed Leicester and Hull and to add to their worries, Adam Lallana limped off, presumably now doubtful for England, with Daniel Sturridge replacing him on 23 minutes.
Swansea were by far the better side. Sigurdsson played a lovely ball over the top of Matip and Lovren and Cork so nearly made the necessary connection. Sigurdsson, again, in 26 minutes landed a free kick on the forehead of Borja, but again he headed over.
Slowly Liverpool gathered some authority. Sturridge provided another outlet and danger, though he got himself booked for diving when sandwiched between Wayne Routledge and van der Hoorn. And Mane, now out wide, began to tease defenders. In fact, it took a superb block by Jordi Amat on 40 minutes to deny him as he shaped to shoot.
There was a momentum shift taking place, but Swansea were hanging on and safe up to half time. Liverpool would not be denied, however, and on 54 minutes Swansea failed to clear a free kick allowing James Milner to hook a ball into the box and Robert Firmino applied a deft header from six yards out to equalise.
Liverpool were hitting their stride. Coutinho almost added a second after a fine move ended in a one-two with Georginio Wijnaldum and shooting just wide on 58 minutes.
But Swansea rallied, and threatened themselves as the game progressed, with Loris Karius flapping at a Sigurdsson corner. They looked good for a draw at least, as long as they could avoid foolish mistakes. They could not, of course, and on such human fallibility does the fate of the manager rest
The reds look in dangerous form at the moment and look to stamp their intention of fighting for the title this season
excerpts taken from www.dailymail.co.uk