Swansea have not had a bright start to their 2013-2014 domestic campaign, a 4-1 home loss to champions Manchester on the opening day of the season was followed by a 1-0 loss away at Tottenham.
The Welsh side finally recorded their first win of the season at the Hawthorns beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0. Michel Laudrup’s men cannot be burdened with a lot of blame for their two losses as the fixture list was not as kind to them as they would have liked and they will be hoping that the win against West Brom is the first of many this season as they are looking at establishing themselves as a formidable mid-table side.
Three games, three wins, three goals, three cleansheets, is the story so far for table toping Liverpool. We come into this match hoping to take advantage of our good start to the season; a convincing win in Wales will go some way in silencing those who think that this good start to the season is somewhat false. Brendan Rodgers is the man who guided Swansea to the Premier League and is partly responsible for the stylish passing game the Welsh side displays, he certainly knows that this is no easy fixture. Rodgers will be counting on the solid defensive display his team has put in the first three fixtures and will hope that the international break did not slow the momentum or reduce the confidence of his team.
Both sides like to dominate the game by keeping possession and playing short passes, so we are bound to see entertaining duels in the middle of the park. Last season Rodgers was criticised for not pressing high enough and giving his opponents too much time to move the ball around freely; he seems to have taken hid of the criticism as witnessed in the Man Utd game, with the midfield trio of Gerrard, Lucas and Henderson pressing high up the pitch in particular in the first half, thereby reducing Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverly’s influence on the game.
Former LFC player Jonjo Shelvey is likely to start will probably want to prove a point against his former employees. His decision making can be questionable at times; if we are to starve him of the space to move forward with the ball he may lose concentration thus playing to our advantage as he gets easily frustrated.
In the game against West Brom most of Swansea’s play was started by Chico who was given the time and space to reach the opposition half on numerous occasions, Rodgers must be wary of that. Liverpool over the last season struggled against teams which liked moving the ball such as Arsenal and Swansea; they tended to panic and made unnecessary long passes thus disrupting the flow of their movement. Keeping possession against Swansea is a priority as they thrive on dominating possession as seen by the 500+ successful passes they made against West Brom.
Swansea are also a threat on the counter they rely on the pace and movement of Michu to punish teams on the break. Daniel Agger also have to contend with the strength of new signing Wilfred Bony; the Ivorian has had a good start to his Swansea career with three goals to his name in all competitions.
Brendan Rodgers will be missing the services of Glen Johnson at fullback, the England International suffered an ankle injury is the game against Man Utd. Andre Wisdom is likely to be given a start at right-back, though an alternative will be to play Kolo Toure at right-back ahead of Wisdom provided that Toure is fit. Martin Skrtel will probably start alongside Agger in the centre of defence after producing a man of the match performance against the Red Devils, and Rodgers must reward him with a start.
The midfield will be unchanged from the last fixture unless one of the players suffers an injury. Top scorer Daniel Sturridge has been struggling with a thigh injury but, he is expected to be fit for the visit to Wales. Rodgers will also probably give Aspas another start. The Spanish forward struggled to keep up with the intensity of the Man Utd game but he is likely to start ahead of Nigerian International Victor Moses.
Swansea’s defence can be easily penetrated; if we manage to keep another clean sheet we will win the game.
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