Liverpool reach new Premier League peak against Swansea

Premier League
Sunday 23 February 2014 - 1:30 pm
Anfield
Liverpool4
3Swansea
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Skrtel'
⚽️ Sturridge3'
⚽️ Henderson19'
⚽️ Sturridge33'
Sterling off ↔️58'
Agger off ↔️63'
⚽️ Henderson73'
Sturridge off ↔️79'
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Liverpool, after much huff, puff and defensive fluff, snatched victory in another Anfield thriller.

A season which started with a handful of 1-0's has been blown apart with high scoring matches.  Liverpool's aggressive forward line seemingly closely matched by a fragile and under protected defence.

Playing four forward players has placed incredible strain on Liverpool's 2 midfielders, and a catalogue of injuries to defenders has led to constant rotation at the back all season - today it was Glen Johnson's marking a return to the side causing another shift in the defensive dynamic.

Swansea, struggling in the league, had less than 72 hours to recover from their European clash against Napoli.  Liverpool had enjoyed the fruits of a week off following defeat at the Emirates in the FA Cup.

Liverpool sought to take immediate advantage of this in another high tempo start to the game.

Daniel Sturridge, in the third minute, grabbing his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.

The ball arrived courtesy of a Raheem Sterling through ball - Gerrard-esque in it's delivery with the flick of an outside right boot.  Sturridge rounded the keeper (like he does) and slotted into the net (like he does).

Just before the 20th minute Liverpool were celebrating their 2nd; on course for another rout.  Sturridge was again involved - dancing in from the side of the pitch - finding Henderson with a finely weighted pass at the edge of the box - before the Englishman smashed it in to the net.

Another of those drubbings?

Not quite.

Swansea tore up the script moments later when a similar goal was fired in by former red Jonjo Shelvey.  He resisted the temptation to celebrate and the Kop applauded his goal and restraint.

But Liverpool's comedy defending had another Sunday matinee performance lined up.

Skrtel fouled Shelvey 15 yards outside the box to concede a free kick and collect a yellow card.  From the resulting free kick, Bony was allowed acres of space to head goalbound and the last touch for the goal came off Skrtel.

Liverpool resumed the goal advantage just before half time.

Clever work by Suarez, a flicked orgasmic ball to the back post and Sturridge nodded one in.  His 21st goal of the season and on for another hat-trick.

Within moments of the second half resuming Martin Skrtel finally conceded the penalty he had been threatening to give away all season - when from a cross he decided that man handling Bony seemed a much better strategy than just letting Agger clear it.  This time it wasn't.

Penalty - and Bony scored to equalise.

Chances fell to both sides in an ensuing period of the game - both sides more than capable of grabbing that 4th goal.

Rodgers reshuffled the pack - first bringing Allen on for the excellent Sterling in an attempt to shore up the midfield and allow Henderson some more room further forward.  Daniel Agger made way for Kolo Toure later on.

Mignolet was still getting involved far too much for our liking, a poor Glen Johnson backpass of particular note in raising Liverpool supporters' blood pressure.  Mignolet blocked well from this gilt edged chance for the Swans.

With a quarter hour remaining the clincher arrived.  Jordan Henderson was to be the hero when he fired his shot into the net - in front of a delirious Kop.

The reds hung on, Swansea looked jaded.

Liverpool move on to 56 points after 27 games, a new record for Liverpool in the Premier League - eclipsing this stage of the 2008/09 season.

That season however Liverpool won 10 and drew 1 of the final 11 games.  Unless Liverpool rapidly improve their defending - matching that season's points total seems an almost impossible task.

Liverpool remain in 4th in a weekend which saw all the top four sides pick up maximum points.

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  • Mick O’Connor

    Excellent report. Fantastic victory – but plenty of concerns with our defending. Swansea’s league form has not been very good and they only had two days off between games. Should never have given them a sniff of getting back into the game.

    Flanagan looks like the England full back – not Glen Johnson – irrespective of it being his first game back.