If you had asked most people before the Liverpool vs Swansea match what the outcome would be, I’m sure it would have been resoundingly in Jürgen Klopp’s men favour.
This is not the way it panned out though.
Joint 2nd in the league, on par with Spurs, at home to bottom of the league, unbeaten at Anfield for over a year , it seemed only a win for the Reds was probable.
However, this shock result demonstrated yet again the mesmerising unpredictably of the English game, that leaves fans pondering in anticipation week in week out.
The first half was a poor state of affairs, next to no chances for both sides, each struggling to find some inspiration. Even with Philippe Coutinho back and starting for the home side Klopp’s men were struggling and had little invention to attack.
Swansea were playing some nice football and appeared to be pulling off their game plan, but couldn’t really induce any goal scoring opportunities.
As the referee; Kevin Friend sounded his whistle for the end of the first half there were disgruntlements from the home supporters who watched on bemused with what was going on. They have become so accustomed to rampant and ruthless demolitions of sides in recent times under Klopp, often blowing teams out of the water before the half hour mark.
Today was a different story though.
As the sides came out for the second half, Swansea looked rejuvenated, hungry, and determined to get something out of the game, this was effectively portrayed when former Sevilla striker, Fernando Llorente struck first blood, and sent the Swans into the lead. Poor defensive work from the corner by Liverpool enabled the Spaniard to poke the ball in from close range, a classic poachers goal.
Minutes later, it was double delight for the striker as he netted a brace. This time a superb ball from new signing Tom Carroll was inch perfect for the aerial threat of Llorente to capitalise, it was a bullet header and left Simon Mignolet hopeless, a 2-0 lead for the away side, left the home supporters desolate and discomforted.
The Reds fought back though, just as Llorente bagged himself a brace, Roberto Firmino matched this with a double of his own. Two goals in quick succession saw Liverpool eradicate the lead Paul Clement’s side had impressively obtained. The home fans then started to believe they could go on to win this game, the home fans erupted into voice and tried to inspire the players to wrap the game up.
Momentum was now on their side.
But, this is the Premier League, a league filled with shocks and surprises. Swansea scored the third goal and decisive goal with just over 10 minutes to go. Gylfi Sigurdsson rode his luck and was in the right place at the right time as an attempted Ragnar Klavan clearance landed perfectly at the feet of the Icelandic international, where he then finished well.
This dashed any chances of a home win, and left Liverpool’s unbeaten home record in pieces. For Swansea, this was a shock win, they haven’t won at Anfield in over 50 years, however for Liverpool it had an air of familiarity to it.
Burnley, Bournemouth, Sunderland, Swansea.
Teams they should be brushing aside to be potential league winners, but instead struggled and stumbled against. It’s back to the drawing board for Jürgen Klopp with a number of games upcoming which are set to define the season, and it’s onwards and upwards for Swansea who will now look to strengthen their survival bid.
Liverpool’s title hopes now remain in the balance, with a game against Chelsea at home next week set to be the pivotal match of the season.
Sadio Mane was sorely missed again today for Liverpool, as he continues to score for Senegal in the African Cup Of Nations ; Liverpool continue to lack drive and penetration. As bad as it may sound, I’m sure most Liverpool fans are pleading for Mane’s Senegal to be knocked out, as his departure has seen Liverpool’s red hot form jet off with him.
This match was another reminder of the cruel and menacing Premier League, If you’re not at your best, you will get punished, whether it is top of the league you’re playing, or bottom of the league. In what can only be described as the greatest league in the world in terms of competitiveness, the Premier league has conjured up yet another curve-ball to take high flying teams and send them crashing back down into reality.
This is the Premier League.
By Tom Cavilla, 18 years old