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EPL: Liverpool v Swansea Preview
Our football writer previews the EPL contest between Liverpool and Swansea.
Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho seemed to witness entirely different matches last weekend at Old Trafford. Not keen to leave the animosity on the pitch, Klopp degraded Man United’s long-ball tactics and felt his side were superior. Their wafer-thin cup win over 2nd division Plymouth did little to dispel fears that Liverpool may have lost a little lustre of late.
Swansea have yet to uproot themselves from the foot of the table and Paul Clement will be hoping that a few new signings may reinvigorate what has become an embarrassing season for Swansea. If ever there was a case study in the necessity of managerial consistency, Swansea are it.
English Premier League | Saturday 21 January | Anfield | 14:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Liverpool 2/9 | Draw 52/10 | Swansea 10/1
Liverpool have lost a little of that swaggering ebullience that saw them threaten to overwhelm every side they encountered. The absence of Sadio Mane has been critical in somewhat diminishing their pace in behind. His speed and energy really created the space for Philippe Coutinho and Firmino to exploit.
Nathaniel Clyne may miss out due to a slight rib knock, which could see the exciting Alex-Arnold come into the side. Coutinho will no doubt start following a series of impressive comeback performances off the bench.
One player who for me somewhat stymies the Liverpool forward avalanche is Wijnaldum. I know it’s his first season, but the Dutch attacking midfielder seems to thaw many of their best attacks and his finishing has been abysmal.
That’s more like long-term theorising, however, as Liverpool should be able to dominate a Swansea side that has been stripped of identity by their merry-go-round managerial policy.
I feel for Paul Clement. He seems like an intelligent, analytical man who may have been able to salvage something with a team with a semblance of cohesion. But this Swansea side looks desperate. Any side can lose 4-0 to Arsenal on their day, but the absurdist manner in which they conceded some of those own goals stank of Sunday League to me.
The signing of Tom Carroll from Spurs in midfield should give them some more creativity. The onus on Glyfi Sigurdsson to be the creative hub of utterly everything has been just one manifestation of their issues.
The purchase of Martin Olsson from Norwich seems a tad regressive. Maybe it has something to do with the injury to Neil Taylor. Fernando Llorente is reportedly being courted by Chelsea, which would essentially be a departure that would relegate this club.
I see industry in the likes of Jack Cork and Leroy Fer, but there is a distinct lack of quality permeating this side. This is going to be a long afternoon for the Swans.
Verdict: Liverpool Halftime/Fulltime Win (6/10)
It always concerns me when sides fighting off relegation are purchasing defenders from the Championship to augment their survival chances.
Liverpool have been slightly jerky of late, but I expect them to really annihilate a side that is ripe for the annihilation. Look for James Milner to score yet another penalty as Swansea desperately lunge around to break down Liverpool’s intricate passing networks.