Liverpool saw their three-month unbeaten run snapped on Monday as Swansea City handed them a 1-0 defeat at the Liberty Stadium.
The Reds dominated the proceedings from the word go, grabbing the bulk of the chances in the first half, albeit without much success, as the likes of Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk, among others came close to finding the back of the net.
But, it was Swansea who ended up breaking the deadlock against the run of play, five minutes before the break as Alfie Mawson produced a fine finish in a crowded six-yard area. Liverpool had one final chance to score at the stroke of half-time, only for Sadio Mane to volley wide.
The visitors’ dominance continued in the second half as well as they continued creating chance after chance to produce an equaliser, but to no avail. The final opportunity came deep into injury time as Roberto Firmino headed against the post.
In the end, Swansea boosted their survival hopes with all three points, while Liverpool suffered a blow in their hopes of catching Manchester United with fifth-placed Tottenham also inching closer to them. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 22, 2018
Loris Karius: 6/10
Starting ahead of Simon Mignolet once again, Karius had another moment to forget when Jordan Ayew beat him at his near post, only for the referee to bail him out after adjudging the ball had gone out of play. Other than that moment, the German had very little to do apart from kicking the ball, and he had no chance with the goal.
Joe Gomez: 5/10
The last month or so has been underwhelming for Gomez, and it was more of the same on Monday for the young defender. At the back, there was very little troubling him, but it was his output in the final third that left a lot to be desired.
The Englishman was wayward with his passing and his delivery was unacceptably poor, leaving one wondering why someone like a Trent Alexander-Arnold wasn’t preferred on a night when better attacking output was needed from the full-backs.
Joel Matip: 6/10
Matip was perhaps the only player who can hold his head up high after Monday night. The Cameroonian barely had anything to do defensively, but he helped the attack out immensely, playing some pinpoint balls from the back while also adding to the numbers in the final third when the opportunity presented itself.
Virgil van Dijk: 5/10
His debut against Everton may have turned out to be the stuff of dreams, but van Dijk’s Premier League debut for Liverpool was one to forget. The Dutch defender was solid defensively and even came within inches of scoring another goal for the Reds.
Carragher: “This thing about Van Dijk coming in and will fix this problem is absolute nonsense. The idea that one player will come in and everything is fixed, he’s only one player.” pic.twitter.com/4e1jUiyPnJ
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 22, 2018
But, it was a poor header in a Swansea corner that led to Mawson’s winner as he couldn’t clear the ball properly. Would look to move on from this disappointment quickly.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
It was a game of two halves for Robertson as he contributed precious little in the first half, before becoming much more involved in the final 45 minutes. His delivery, in particular, improved significantly and a low cross into the six-yard box was, hands down, the best chance for Liverpool on the night.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 4/10
It really is inexplicable how Wijnaldum at Anfield and the one in away games looks like two completely different players. On Tuesday, it was yet another pedestrian outing on the road for the Dutchman, who was anonymous before he was finally subbed off.
Emre Can: 5/10
Handed the captain’s armband for the first time in his Liverpool career, Can failed to step up sufficiently. He looked buoyed by the added responsibility in the initial stages of the match, but his second half performance was sloppy. The German, like several other teammates, had a chance to open the scoring for his side, but his shot ended up being too high.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5/10
Oxlade-Chamberlain executed parts of his game well and some quite poorly. His passing was neat and crisp, and he ran around a lot to create space for others, but there was very little incisiveness to do anything with the ball and he couldn’t do much to affect the game.
Mohamed Salah: 4/10
13,871 managers played their Triple Captain chip on Salah for Gameweek 24…
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) January 23, 2018
Salah had one of his poorest outings in a Liverpool shirt on Monday, looking nothing like the player who has tormented so many defensive units this season. Perhaps showing the effects of the illness that he has recovered from, the Egyptian just couldn’t get going. He, too, had one great chance to score, but his volley blasted over the bar.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
The best of the Liverpool attacking unit, although that won’t get them three points at the end of the day. Like always, Firmino dropped deep to create space for Salah and Mane, but Swansea were disciplined enough to not get pulled too high. Could have levelled things up in the final moments of the game, but his header only ended up striking the upright.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
After a superb performance against Manchester City last weekend, Mane again looked like the player that has been leaving a lot to be desired in recent weeks. While the Senegalese was lively, he didn’t have many chances to convert from apart from the first half volley that went wide. Another player who was shackled well by the Swansea defence.
Adam Lallana: 5/10
Lallana looked sprightly upon coming on, and he could have scored the equaliser in the dying stages of the game before Alfie Mawson bravely blocked him. High time he started getting the opportunity to play from the off.