This Saturday lunch-time, Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Liverpool will travel to Wales, to play a troubled Swansea City outfit at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans have experienced a tough start to their Premier League, still trying to find their feet under their new permanent manager in charge – and certainly not helped by the uncertainty surrounding the manager whose performance is under more scrutiny with every poor result. Back to back defeats to Manchester City in the cup and the league, have been weirdly encouraging, in that the performance in the most recent game was definitely improved and would have produced a better result against a team of lesser quality. With only 4 points on board, Swansea need a win here to settle the nerves ahead of the second international break, but form suggests they will have to do very well to get anything out of Saturday’s clash against the Reds from Merseyside.
In contrast, the mood cannot be more bouncing at Liverpool, even the weather has been ‘good’ , remarked their German manager reflecting the high spirits in their camp clearly uplifted by the results and more importantly their goal output. Liverpool have scored the most number of goals in the top division since Klopp has taken charge of the Reds, and should be given due credit. It’s a difficult fixture nonetheless, not long ago, the visitors lost the corresponding game in May last season, and the German is seemingly wary of what the Welsh club could do, if things went their way on the day. But after impressive wins against Arsenal and Chelsea, and a five-star performance against Hull last week, it’s time they showed consistency ahead of the crunch period in October.
Swansea will monitor defender Federico Fernandez, who missed out on the defeat by City last weekend because of a minor groin problem. Winger Nathan Dyer remains out with an ankle injury.
Liverpool centre-back Lovren sat out the win against Hull with a virus but is now fit and could return in place of Ragnar Klavan. The Reds will assess Belgian striker Divock Origi, who is recovering from a minor foot injury.
- Swansea’s tally of four points is their lowest after six matches of a top-flight season.
- They could lose three successive league fixtures for the first time under Francesco Guidolin.
- Liverpool have scored 16 goals in six Premier League games this season. Last term it took them until their 13th match to reach this total.
- No team has scored more away goals in the Premier League in 2016 than Liverpool (26, level with Tottenham).
Fernando Llorente – Swansea City
With a reputation to start slowly at every club he’s played in, Llorente, at 31, is a vastly experienced player who could be of vital importance to the Welsh side as times goes on. Having opened this account in the Premier League last week against Manchester City, it’s imperative now that he kicks on and builds his form against Liverpool, who for all their prowess going forward, can still be vulnerable at the back following a period of sustained pressure, something that Guidolin must hope his side are capable of creating on Saturday.
Jordan Henderson – Liverpool
This could finally be the season that Henderson actually believes in the fact that he should be Liverpool captain. The English international has found a new lease of life in his slightly different role. He’s been playing in front of his back four, where he’s expected to set the tempo of his side’s game, especially at home when they see a lot of the ball. Tempo being arguably more important for Liverpool than at other teams, Henderson should be applauded for the contribution he is making to his team’s electric start in games and a sense of fearlessness on the pitch. His wonder goal against Chelsea is yet to be rivaled in the league, showing that he has it in his locker to come up with a sensational goal to win a game if needs be, just like what his predecessor was adored for by Liverpool supporters across the globe.
Liverpool’s recent record at the Liberty stadium has been nothing short of a disappointment with just one win in the last five visits. But expect that to change this Saturday.
Swansea City 1-3 Liverpool