The final Premier League outing before we take another F.A. Cup hiatus this weekend sees us go to the Liberty Stadium as Swansea play host to Liverpool, with it being a must win game for each side but for far differing reasons. For Carlos Carvalhal’s men it is all about not being cast adrift at the bottom and trying to rejoin the teams above.
While for Jurgen Klopp it is the ideal opportunity to pull five points clear of Tottenham in the race for fourth place and a return to Champions League football. Mauricio Pochettino’s men dropped two points at struggling Southampton and Liverpool will make sure they do not have a tricky away trip of their own.
For Swansea not even a win this evening would see them move out of the bottom three but the gap is starting to get wider between themselves and safety. One that currently stands at six points after Paul Lambert got off to the perfect start at Stoke manager on Saturday afternoon.
Carlos Carvalhal’s short tenure at Swansea has seen the former Sheffield Wednesday manager pick up four points from a possible nine and one of those came away at Newcastle last weekend. Another step in the right direction but everyone else seems to be making larger strides as of late.
The momentum is starting to pick up though especially after their Cup win over Wolves last week, that would have given the club confidence going into Tonight’s clash but there is no doubting that they are going to have their work cut out.
They have only scored 14 goals this season, a harsh reminder of just how poor they have been in attack this season. That is something that needs to improve if they are to have any chance of clawing themselves out of the bottom three.
Carlos Carvalhal has been looking for some additional quality but unfortunately for him was rebuffed in his bid to reunite the Ayew brothers after West Ham turned down the clubs bid for the former Swansea man yesterday afternoon.
If Swansea are short on attacking quality then the same cannot be said about Liverpool, even after the departure of Philippe Coutinho. This was in full effect when they were the first team to get the better of Manchester City in the Premier League this season.
They were scintillating in attack eight days ago as they raced into a 4-1 second half lead, although defensive frailties nearly reared their very ugly head at the end as they almost conspired to throw it all away, Manchester City’s late fightback however was all in vein as Liverpool just held out to win 4-3 at Anfield.
That said it would be unfair to highlight any defensive lapses as it would undeservedly take the focus of the way Liverpool played in the final third, actually the midfield also. Their relentless pressing game was plan for all to see as they made life very uncomfortable for Pep Guardiola’s men.
Not only was it a huge win on Merseyside but it went a long way to exacting some revenge for the heavy defeat that they were dealt back in September of last year when Manchester City ran out 5-0 winnners. A game in which they turned the screw after the Reds went down to 10 men.
Sadio Mane was the man who was sent off in that Manchester mauling and he would earn some salvation after scoring the goal that put Liverpool 3-1 ahead. The fact that he, Salah and Firmino all scored for Liverpool showed just how effective the attacking trio were that afternoon.
Mane has had a slightly indifferent and perhaps the sale of Coutinho will allow him to shine once again and that could be a huge asset in the final third of the season especially as they look to solidify the final Champions League paying berth.
Swansea need big wins of their own and there would be not many bigger then the scalp of Liverpool, but you get the feeling that the Reds will be absolutely brimming with confidence after results have gone their way as of late both through their own doing and elsewhere. Nothing but an away win for me.