Therefore, after a stuttering start to their league campaign, a win would have put the Reds back on some sort of track.
But, in the end, they had to settle for a goalless draw against Swansea City.
The first half was pretty even in terms of possession and territorial advantage.
Raheem Sterling’s left-footed shot on 9 minutes was struck poorly and saved easily by Gerhard Tremmel, whilst Pepe Reina saved well from Wayne Routledge a few minutes later.
The home side’s flair players looked threatening in the final third, with Pablo Hernandez in particular looking very dangerous. Stewart Downing – playing at left-back – had a torrid half and he struggled to contain the Spaniard.
That said, it was Liverpool who had the best chances of the half. First Tremmel squirmed a Glen Johnson shot over the bar after the England full-back was put clean through on goal by Jose Enrique, then Raheem Sterling crashed a scintillating half-volley against the crossbar.
On 34 minutes, Jose Enrique had a goal disallowed for offside. Luis Suarez curled a ball towards the far post and Enrique slid in to slot the ball home.
There appears to be a consensus within the media that this was 100% offside, but all TV replays are from a misleading angle and there’s an argument that Chico Flores was as close to the six yard line as Enrique. Whatever the exact positioning of both players, giving the benefit of the doubt to the attacking player seems to be a thing of the past.
Regardless, the teams going in level at half-time was probably fair, but not many would have put money on a goalless draw given the amount of first half chances.
However, the second half contained fewer goalmouth incidents. Liverpool looked the most likely, especially when they kept their composure in possession and picked better passes going forward.
In terms of Swansea chances, Ashley Williams had a header cleared off the line on 64 minutes by former Swan Joe Allen, and Stewart Downing – who should have been moved away from the left-back position by this point – played a poor backpass on 74 minutes which resulted in Reina making a brave save from Nathan Dyer – suffering a kick to the head in the process.
Liverpool looked threatening themselves but their final pass lacked penetration. Their best chance to win the game came on 83 minutes, when Suarez and Sterling broke clear after a Swansea corner and were left two-on-one with the Welsh side’s last man. Sterling should have played a simple pass to Suarez to leave him clean through, however, the pass, infuriatingly, was too strong. Although Suarez still managed to cut inside and shoot, the chance should have been much easier.
Finally, deep into injury time, substitute Jonjo Shelvey had a thunderous 20 yard shot saved well by Tremmel at the near post.
The majority of neutrals would probably argue that a draw was the fair result. Liverpool fans however would point to the away side’s clearer-cut goalscoring chances and higher quantity.
Although a draw away from home against an on-form Swansea City isn’t a bad result on the face of it, Liverpool’s seven draws in thirteen league games is severely halting the club’s rise up the Premier League table.
Because Liverpool are in such a poor league position, pressure will start to intensify if the draws continue, and it could be argued that anything but a victory at Spurs on Wednesday – difficult as that will be – would be a bad result in the current circumstances.
On a positive note, Liverpool would have lost games like these – and indeed the games at Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge – this time last season.
Also, thanks to the form of Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling, Liverpool’s attacking play is much more attractive to watch of late – if not quite ruthless enough. One player whose form is a slight concern however is Steven Gerrard. He passing was out of sync throughout and he looked very leggy in the closing stages.
L4L Man of the Match: Glen Johnson. A constant threat – his marauding runs from deep are so difficult to track for opposition defenders. A very important asset for Liverpool at present.
Follow me on Twitter: @antonyjlfc
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