After a slow start at the Liberty Stadium, goals from Roberto Firmino and James Milner sealed Liverpool a 2-1 victory over Swansea City
Swansea City 1-2 Liverpool
Premier League, Liberty Stadium
October 1, 2016
Fer 8′ (assist – Van der Hoorn)
Firmino 55′ (assist – Henderson)
Milner 83′ (penalty)
Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds took to the Liberty Stadium for their Saturday lunchtime kickoff in what was the 40th competitive clash between the two sides.
After flying the 180 miles to south Wales, Klopp named a strong starting lineup to take on the Swans, who were led by under-fire manager Francesco Guidolin.
This saw Loris Karius keep his place in goal, behind a back four of Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren with Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana in midfield.
Firmino, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho formed Klopp’s three-man attacking line, and having scored 10 goals between them so far in 2016/17, promised to trouble Swansea throughout, but they made it hard for themselves in a close-fought win.
- Fer opens the scoring from a Swansea corner
- Lallana withdrawn through injury on 21 minutes
- Firmino levels after half-time with close-range header
- Milner nets fourth penalty of the season to seal the win
Liverpool struggled to find their feet in the opening stages, with Swansea’s quick breaks proving the most troubling from either side, and the home side broke the deadlock on eight minutes, with Leroy Fer tapping home after an in-swinging corner.
The Reds’ misery was magnified by the early withdrawal of Lallana, with the England international limping down the tunnel to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge.
With Coutinho moving into midfield, Liverpool gained some control as the first half wore on, but continued to run down blind alleys in attack, with Sturridge booked for diving in the penalty area.
Unable to craft any meaningful openings, the Reds headed into half-time at the interval facing a one-goal deficit, with Klopp no doubt preparing some strong words for the break.
Klopp switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation for the second half, with Coutinho moving into a more central attacking role, and it paid off within the first 10 minutes.
With Mane charging forward on the turn, the Senegalese was brought down, and while Coutinho’s free-kick rebounded off the wall, Henderson sent it back into the box first time, with Firmino heading home the equaliser.
Coutinho then came close to notching Liverpool’s second of the afternoon, but bent his 20-yard effort just wide of Lucasz Fabianski’s post.
The Reds continued their dominance for much of the half, with Mane, Sturridge and Clyne all trying to find a second, with the persistence of Milner on the left flank proving influential.
It was Milner who eventually slotted home the winner, converting his fourth penalty kick of the season after Firmino was fouled by Angel Rangel, giving the Reds a priceless victory before the international break.
TIA Man of the Match: Roberto Firmino
Referee: Michael Oliver
Swansea City: Fabianski; Rangel, van der Hoorn, Amat, Naughton; Fer (Fulton 72′), Cork, Britton (Ki 63′); Routledge (Barrow 62′), Sigurdsson, Borja
Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Taylor, Mawson, McBurnie
Liverpool: Karius; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Clyne; Henderson, Wijnaldum (Can 85′), Lallana (Sturridge 23′); Mane, Coutinho, Firmino (Origi 85′)
Subs not used: Mignolet, Klavan, Lucas, Moreno
Next Match: Manchester United (H) – Premier League – October 17