Liberty Stadium, Swansea
November 25, 2012; 13:30 CST
After a much anticipated victory against Wigan at Anfield, Liverpool travel to the Liberty stadium to take on Brendan Rodgers’ former club Swansea City. The Swans sit just above Liverpool in the Premier League table so this game should have a bit of a 6-pointer feel to it. Both sides follow a patient possession based approach and fans expect a keenly contested battle this Sunday. A look at the form table shows that both sides are evenly matched. Liverpool has picked up 10 points over the last 6 games while Swansea has managed a return of 9. However, Liverpool has managed to go 7 games unbeaten and will be looking to extend that streak. Swansea recently won at Anfield in the Capitol One Cup and The Reds will want revenge.
Swansea comes to this fixture on the back of a confidence boosting win over Newcastle at St. James’ Park. Michael Laudrup has made some wonderful singings over the summer and the likes of Michu, Hernandez and De Guzman have had a positive impact on the side. Swansea have built on their excellent first season performance and now look very much a top 10 Premier League side. Michael Laudrup has ensured a positive style of football and it has already started to pay dividends. Swansea City plays with a confidence that belies its stature in the football world. The minnows from Wales have already taken points off Chelsea and Newcastle and will be looking to add Liverpool to their list of scalps.
Brendan Rodgers chose to rest some of his key players in the Capital One Cup loss at Anfield. However, he will utilise all his available resources on the trip to Liberty Stadium. Liverpool has started to find some cohesion in their play and Brendan Rodgers’ side has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks. Liverpool will be looking for all 3 points as they attempt to climb as high up the table as possible before the January transfer window. The Reds will once again be heavily reliant on Luis Suarez to come up with the goods and few will bet against the Uruguayan to score.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Michael Laudrup has plenty of injury concerns ahead of his encounter against Liverpool. Goalkeeper Michael Vorm is still a couple of weeks away from a return while Lita, Situ and Taylor all miss out through thigh, achilles and ankle injuries respectively. Danny Graham, Davies and Moore will face late fitness tests but are expected to be fit for this game.
Like his counterpart at Liverpool, Michael Laudrup also prefers to have his team lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. Tremmel is expected to keep goal in Vorm’s absence. He will be protected by the back four of Rangel, Flores, Williams and Davies. Ashley Williams had plenty to say about Suarez in the build-up to the game and their clash on the pitch will make for some interesting viewing.
Ki and Leon Britton are expected to anchor the midfield with De Guzman providing the creativity in midfield. Britton has once again been in fine form for The Swans and will hold the key to Swansea being able to prevent the superior Liverpool midfield from dominating possession.
Michu is expected to play up front and he will be flanked by Nathan Dyer on the right and Pablo Fernandez on the left. Swansea’s front three had linked up exceptionally well in their last encounter at Anfield and the Liverpool defence will be wary of their threat. Michu once again found himself among the goals in the away trip to Newcastle and the Spaniard will be looking to add to his tally against Liverpool.
Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Tremmel; Rangel, Williams, Flores, Davies; Britton, Ki, De Guzman; Dyer, Michu, Hernandez
Brendan Rodgers has a busy schedule of fixtures coming up but has most of his players available. Andre Wisdom’s suspect knee meant he was taken off after 30 minutes in Liverpool’s Europa League encounter against Young Boys. Wisdom will face a late fitness test ahead of the game. Martin Kelly and Fabio Borini remain long term injury concerns but Liverpool will be boosted by the good news of Lucas Leiva overcoming his injury problems. The Brazilian played for an hour in the reserves game and is expected to be available for selection by the first week of December.
Brendan Rodgers has experimented with a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks but he is expected to stick to his tried and tested 4-3-3 against his old club. Pepe Reina is expected to continue in goal after his clean sheet in last week’s game. Andre Wisdom will start at right back while Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger will play as centre backs. Glen Johnson has been excellent playing on the left flank for Liverpool and is expected to continue in that role.
Joe Allen will make his comeback to the Liberty Stadium and will be looking to dominate the possession. He will be joined in midfield by Steven Gerrard and Nuri Sahin. Raheem Sterling will start on the right after his excellent display against Wigan while Jose Enrique will play in an unfamiliar left wing position once again. Enrique has been in outstanding form since his return from injury and his marauding runs down the left flank have prompted the manager to compare him to Gareth Bale.
Luis Suarez shall start as the focal point of Liverpool’s attack and shall be looking to add to his goals tally. Liverpool’s No. 7 is leading the race for the Golden Boot award and has scored 5 goals in his last 4 matches in the Premier League. Swansea defenders will have their hands full in trying to keep the Uruguayan quiet.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Reina; Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Allen, Sahin, Gerrard; Sterling, Suarez, Enrique.
Players To Watch Out For
Miguel Michu (Swansea)
The Spaniard has been in sensational form for Swansea since joining in the summer. Michael Laudrup has deployed Michu in an advanced attacking role for the Swans and he hasn’t disappointed. Michu has been excellent in his link-up play with other advanced players has been a treat to watch. Michu is already the top scoring midfielder in the league with 7 goals and is certain to add to his tally. Liverpool fans will be hoping he doesn’t do so this weekend.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Luis Suarez on current form is one of the hottest forwards in Europe. 10 goals already this season including 5 in the last 4 games is testament to that. The Uruguayan has excelled in his ‘false 9’ role for Liverpool and has been pivotal to The Reds’ aspirations this season. Liverpool’s No. 7 has shouldered much of the goalscoring responsibility this season. Williams’ comments will undoubtedly fire him up for this game and the smart money is on him to add to his already impressive goals tally this season.
Swansea 1- 2 Liverpool
Swansea have been strong at home in recent seasons but this Liverpool side looks to be on the up. After a humiliating loss at home against Swansea, the Liverpool players will be motivated to give their best shot. Liverpool’s front three of Sterling, Suarez and Enrique have all found form and we expect a competitive game with The Reds securing an away victory.
Blast From The Past