Having just watched the Liverpool, Swansea match at Anfield and begun my long trip home I’m currently ill equipped to do a proper match report on the 3-2 loss to the team who started the day at the bottom of the Premier League. Though I feel the need to air this dirty laundry and let my post-match thoughts be known before I have my eyes pinned open, akin to that of Alex’s in A Clockwork Orange, and re-watch the match later this evening.
With Swansea coming off the back of a 4-0 battering at the hands of Arsenal, and Liverpool having been unfortunate not to have won at Old Trafford, you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be a simple three points for Jürgen Klopp’s tricky Reds.
In the first half the Reds looked comfortable, and that’s as far as I can go on the matter. They weren’t as dominant as expected but they did see the majority of the ball throughout the first 45 minutes, never properly threatening the Swansea goal, they seemed all too content passing the ball amongst themselves on the halfway line.
The closest Liverpool came to scoring in the first half was when Adam Lallana attempted to channel his inner Andy Carroll. Unfortunately his acrobatic effort went over the bar and the hosts weren’t to come any closer to breaking the deadlock that half.
Into the second half and where it all fell apart, two poorly conceded goals from Fernando Llorente saw relegation candidates Swansea ease themselves into a 2-0 lead before Liverpool had got out the dressing room.
To the credit of the team and home crowd they tried to stay positive, almost all too aware they could get back into the game. And get back into the game they did, a brace from Brazilian man Roberto Firmino saw a resurgent Liverpool claw their way to 2-2.
Although, on this day, it was not to be for Klopp’s men and Gylfi Sigurdsson grabbed what would be Swansea’s third and the final goal of the game after some pedestrian defending by Liverpool’s back four.
Lallana came close once more to getting a goal of his own, the ball breaking to him amongst the melee in Swans box. Unfortunately the England man headed over once more, seeing Liverpool’s chances of a point all but erased.
To Swansea’s credit they played a good game of football on the day and deserved to go back to Wales with something, they stifled Liverpool throughout their periods of good play and took advantage of the brief periods when they went to sleep.
Though, just for a moment, I find it apt to mention the man in the middle, Kevin Friend, and his petulance and ineptitude at not only properly refereeing a professional game of football, but allowing play to flow. All to often play would be halted and brought back to a crawl, all because a free kick was taken while the ball was a centimetre off the ground or rolling around at the breakneck speeds of 1mph.
All told, the ironically named Friend, didn’t cost Liverpool the game, but frustrated players and fans alike with petty decisions when the situation most definitely didn’t call for any action to be taken.
Few positives can be taken from a defeat, though Gini Wijnaldum had yet another solid performance, looking calm in possession and always capable of picking a pass, as he looks increasingly settled, week after week. Also, Firmino was back in the goals with two well taken chances, taking his goalscoring tally to 9 across all competitions this season.
Most notably however, the biggest positive that can be taken from today is the fact that Joel Matip is officially back and eligible for selection. The Cameroon defender didn’t see much action today, though when he was brought on in the dying minutes he looked sharp, as if he’d never been away. Matip has definitely been missed throughout the period of his absence and will bring some much needed stability to the Reds defence upon his full return.
At the end of the day a 3-2 loss to Swansea is certainly not an acceptable result for a team allegedly in contention for the Premier League title, but it’s far from the end of the world either.
Liverpool face Southampton next in the League Cup semi-final second leg, going into the fixture losing 1-0 on aggregate after the game at Saint Mary’s. Let’s hope Klopp’s men can shake off the negative vibes after today’s loss and go on and earn a place in the final at Wembley for the second time in as many years.