Liverpool FC remained in touch with the teams at the top of the table as Jordan Henderson’s late winner provide them with all three points against Swansea City.
Considering Liverpool’s home form and Swansea’s poor away form, it seemed as if it will be comfortable outing for the Reds at Anfield in this game, but it turned out to be anything by comfortable. In fact despite losing this game, Swansea deserve a lot of credit for the way they fought back despite going down early in the game.
The home side started the match brightly as Daniel Sturridge scored the opener from a breath taking counter-attacking move. The England international was set up by a defence splitting through ball by Raheem Sterling. Liverpool maintained their fantastic record of scoring first half goals as they doubled their lead in the 20th minute and this time Sturridge was the provider as he set up Jordan Henderson at the edge of the box and the midfielder found the right hand top corner of the net with an immaculate finish.
At that point it seemed as if it could be another rout by Liverpool at home, but Swansea fought back immediately and just three minutes after conceding that goal to Henderson, the away side pulled one back as former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey scored with an absolutely delightful shot from the edge of the box as he side footed Nathan Dyer’s pass into the roof of the net. Even the Kop applauded that effort as Shelvey refused to celebrate against his former side. Swansea then got the equalizer as Wilfried Bony’s header from a free-kick got a wicked deflection off Martin Skrtel just four minutes later.
Although Liverpool looked shaky at the back, their attack continued to shine and they got their lead back before half time as Daniel Sturridge headed home Luis Suarez’s inch perfect cross. But Swansea once again came back from behind and scored an equalizer right at the start of the second half after the Welsh club were awarded a penalty. Martin Skrtel brought down Wilfried Bony inside the box and the 25-year-old stepped up and converted the resultant spot-kick with utmost ease.
Just when it seemed like Liverpool could drop points and fall behind in the title race, the Reds displayed their new found never-say-die attitude on the pitch and grabbed a crucial winner in the 74th minute of the game. Luis Suarez’s initial shot was blocked by Ashley Williams, but Henderson followed it up with a shot, which was saved by Vorm and the rebound once again fell kindly for the midfielder and he didn’t give the goalkeeper any chance with his second attempt.
Brendan Rodgers was delighted with this important win, although he did accept that his side weren’t at their best today, specially defensively. But he was glad that his attackers did the job on the day despite Swansea’s fight back.
“It was an important win for us. We certainly weren’t at our best today but the offensive part of our game, which is very strong, came out on top again.
“It was a wonderful victory for us. Swansea played really, really well. Especially when we were 2-0 up to get back into the game.
“But it’s an outstanding result for us and the game typified the character of this team. We’ll analyse where we can be better and certainly as a team defensively, we can be 100 per cent better.
“But part of that, you give credit to Swansea. They had some moments of real quality. We showed our strengths. We’re a great team on the offence and we scored some brilliant goals today.
“We were very good in that aspect of our game.
“As always as a coach, you’ll analyse where you can be better, and we’re looking to improve that for next week. ” – The Liverpool manager said.
Rodgers was also full of praise for his two goal scorers Daniel Sturridge, who became the first player since Ruud van Nistelrooy to score in eight consecutive matches, and Jordan Henderson, who scored the vital winner in the end.
“He’s a terrific finisher. It was a great pass for the first goal by young Raheem.
“It got us off to a great start, we’re very strong at home and when we get that early goal, it gives us the confidence.
“It was an excellent cross by Luis for his second and it was a good header. Dan has been working on his heading and he’s picked him out really well, Luis.
“There’s Jordan Henderson with his two as well. We’ve asked him to get forward more, get into the box.
“His first one was an outstanding finish and his second was about his desire to get into the box.
“That was a very, very important goal for us. Without being at our best, which we’ve been in a lot of games, today we had to show a different side and the side was very pleasing.
“He was outstanding. But there’s been improvements in a lot of our players. The likes of young Raheem and even Steven Gerrard wants to improve at his age.
“As a team, we’re improving all the time. We’ve still got a way to go to where I want us to be, but we’ve seen progression over the last 18 months or so and we need to stay focused on getting better and improving our performance now.” – Rodgers added.
The former Swansea manager however disagreed with the referee’s decision to award the away side a penalty in the second half.
“The penalty’s really, really soft. I’m not sure what he’s seen. Bony’s going into the box, you’ve seen from today he’s a big strong guy.
“He’s going in with Martin Skrtel and they’ve just touched each other but there was no way that was a penalty. That obviously gets them back into the game.” – He explained.
The Liverpool manager also accepted that victories for other title rivals did put extra pressure on his side to get the right result in this game.
“There’s always that little bit when you play later on and everyone else wins.
“So we knew we had to win today. It was a terrific win for us today.”- He said in his post-match press conference.