Liverpool face strugglers Swansea City at Anfield on Saturday – a game that the Reds need to win, in order to keep in touch with pacesetters Chelsea. Stephen Lindell looks forward to the game.
With Chelsea seven points clear at the top, and Spurs just ahead of Liverpool on goal difference, the title race still isn’t over – but Liverpool need to be winning these games to stay in touch with Chelsea.
And, this is, an easily winnable game. The only evident stumbling block is complacency here – it almost came back to bite them in their FA Cup replay at Plymouth in midweek – more energy & creativity will be needed here.
Swansea, under the new tutelage of ex-Derby manager Paul Clement, will certainly cause Liverpool a few problems going forward, albeit it won’t be a surprise if they went for a defensive approach for most knockings of the game – they’ll be looking to offer some early resistance.
The stats don’t make good reading though for the Swans – they have shipped 22 goals in 10 of their away games this season [that averages out at 2 per game], and they have only won once away from home this season – away at Burnley on the opening day.
That, and their 4-0 annihilation at the hands of Arsenal last week, just about highlights the job ahead for Paul Clement, to heave Swansea out of, what is currently, a sinking ship.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have drawn their last two games [away at Sunderland & Man United] and will be looking to regain the press, energy & creativity that has been anonymous in recent weeks.
If Liverpool go into the game attacking from the start, which is what I think they’ll do, there’s only going to be one winner.
- No update on Matip’s eligibility in his pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon.
- Nathaniel Clyne could make a return from his abdominal/rib injury that kept him out last week.
Unchanged from Man United, expect for a few tweaks and inclusions – back to our full strength team:
Between the sticks, Simon Mignolet cements his position, having made some superb stops against Man United last week.
Could be an unchanged back four from Old Trafford. Dejan Lovren & Ragnar Klavan cement their positions with CB – with no update from Klopp with regards to Joel Matip’s eligibility.
Nathaniel Clyne could make a return to the starting eleven at RB, after sustaining a rib injury which himself out of Sunday’s game. Trent Alexander Arnold impressed during the 90 minutes, and may have a case for another start, should Clyne fail to prove his fitness, again.
Moving onto the three-man midfield. It’s an unchanged one for me, again – some may prefer Lallana over Can in the midfield, as Lallana’s more effective in that role. However, I feel that Lallana was much improved against United on Sunday, and I’d prefer to have Coutinho & Lallana out wide to Origi – I’ll explain that later.
Going forward, it wasn’t a difficult choice for me. Firmino has to start central – we saw his hard work against United – he worked hard for the team, showed a lot of energy, and his running that made him a key player at the start of the season returned.
Philippe Coutinho had to settle for a place on the bench – with Klopp looking to save the best till last. Certainty though that he’ll start.
And finally – it’s Lallana on the right. I know he can be frustrating & devastating in this role, but I’d much rather have Lallana than Origi out wide – pushing the latter out wide clearly isn’t the solution, as demonstrated against Plymouth on Wednesday & against United on Sunday. He’s just as ineffective as Lallana – whilst he makes the effort to press, he looks brainless when doing so.
Like I said before, I expect Liverpool to bring their A game again. I see Swansea really struggling here, if Liverpool attack from the off. The Reds & Jurgen Klopp will know how much of an important game this is – look at the teams around us. They’re consistently winning, and this is Liverpool’s chance to take advantage, of what is, a slightly easier game.
You have teams such as City, Arsenal & United, trying to breathe on the necks of LFC, City & Spurs – I can only see a win, to be honest – especially with the team put out. No room for complacency though – a good start is key.
Verdict: Liverpool 3-0 Swansea
Get a 4/5 on a Liverpool home win, a massive 15/1 for a shock win for the Swans – and 13/2 for Liverpool to be frustrated, with a draw.
Written by @SteLindellLFC