With 12 Premier League games remaining, Liverpool faced Swansea in what was a must win game for The Reds. Having lost to Arsenal during mid week it was time to put all focus on finishing as high as possible in the league. Liverpool fans took the Arsenal defeat quite well because as most fans would agree, mounting a serious top 4 or even title challenge is far more important. The loss to Arsenal had a silver lining but that would all have been in vain unless Liverpool could beat Swansea at Anfield.
The game got off to the best possible start for Liverpool when Raheem Sterling played in Daniel Sturridge to get the games first goal. Henderson doubled Liverpool’s advantage after 20 minutes of play with a fantastic top corner finish but Liverpool looked far from comfortable. Jonjo Shelvey was causing all sorts of trouble in midfield and was being given far too much time on the ball. Steven Gerrard wasn’t closing him down quick enough and inevitably Shelvey hit a peach into the top corner to make it 2-1. Swansea continued to cause trouble and the pressing in midfield that had paid Liverpool so many dividends in the past just wasn’t evident. Coutinho playing in midfield forced Jordan Henderson to have to hold his position more and this worked in Swansea’s favour. Swansea won a free kick and a Wilfred Bony header levelled the sides. Liverpool were far from comfortable in the game and composure was what was needed. Steven Gerrard with his experience should have tried slowing the game down more but it just didn’t happen. A moment of magic from Luis Suarez created an opening and a perfect cross found the head of Daniel Sturridge to put the Reds back in front.
The second half got off to the worst possible start as Martin Skrtel gave away a penalty which Wilfred Bony converted to level the game once again. Liverpool looked shaky and continued to misplace passes. Glen Johnson seemed to struggle in his first game back from injury and was one of the main culprits of giving the ball away. Joe Allen was brought on in place of Raheem Sterling and this completely changed the game. Liverpool were allowed to dominate from then on as Henderson was given more of a licence to press higher up the pitch. Allen made some great interceptions as well as playing some impressive passes. He looked composed and relaxed on the ball and totally swung the game in Liverpool’s favour. Jordan Henderson scored the winning goal with 20 minutes left after gambling on Vorm spilling the ball. His willing running paid off today and by taking a chance he won Liverpool the game.
With Southampton away next, Liverpool will be wary of the high pressing that the Saints use to put defenders under pressure. With Liverpool’s defence being so poor of late, I’m sure there will be plenty of worried Reds. Agger has to start in my view simply because Toure is shocking on the ball. What is needed is composure and Toure doesn’t give that. I would also start Joe Allen ahead of Coutinho. Our midfield will need to compete with Swansea in terms of pressing and keeping hold of the ball and I feel that Henderson and Allen’s energy would benefit us far more than someone like Coutinho.
With 11 games left can Liverpool “make us dream” once again? I really want to believe and each win is a massive step to securing fourth spot, and maybe more.