Liverpool returned to winning ways at Anfield with a thumping victory over Swansea in the Premier League on Tuesday evening.
Liverpool 5-0 Swansea
Premier League, Anfield
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Coutinho 5′ (assist – Salah)
Firmino 51′ (assist – Coutinho)
Firmino 65′ (assist – Salah)
Swansea, under the guidance of temporary boss Leon Britton, opted for Oliver McBurnie to lead the attacking line, with Tammy Abraham on the bench and Wilfried Bony absent.
- Mignolet given the nod in goal
- Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Mane, Matip back from injury
- Coutinho stunner opens scoring on his 200th appearance
- Firmino scores 15th and 16th of the season
- Alexander-Arnold batters in his first league goal
- Oxlade-Chamberlain wraps up the win
Liverpool quickly got into their stride to dominate possession, starting in a 4-3-3 shape but quickly seeking to free Mohamed Salah central at every opportunity.
It didn’t take long for the first chance on goal to crop up—and it was a telling one.
Roberto Firmino won the ball back in midfield, fed it to Salah and his first-time pass found Philipe Coutinho in space.
The No. 10 took a touch and immediately bent an unstoppable shot into the far top corner to give the Reds the lead.
Swansea mounted a counter of their own as they sought to mount a quick response, but a tame Wayne Routledge header produced a straight-forward save for Mignolet.
Chances came quickly for Liverpool thereafter; Firmino sat down centre-back Federico Fernandez only for his cross to be blocked, before Coutinho opened the Swansea defence again and teed up Andrew Robertson for an angled shot wide.
Swansea tried to work their way back into the match with some controlled possession of their own, but it was all in deep areas—nowhere where they could get numbers into dangerous positions and hurt the Reds.
Emre Can was next to try his luck, driving forward and curling a shot on target, as Swansea continued to give the ball away in their own half.
The Reds continued to press for a second goal, with Salah seeing a shot blocked, Oxlade-Chamberlain hammering an effort well over and Firmino striking wide from 25 yards as the half-hour mark approached.
Instead of getting closer to extending their lead though, Liverpool became sloppy in their play and slow in their tempo as half time neared.
Ragnar Klavan, impressive in the first half, had to make a big block on McBurnie to deny a shock equaliser eight minutes before the break.
It sparked the Reds back into action, but the biggest chance to extend their lead was spurned right on 45 minutes—Firmino firing wide when clear on goal after Salah’s through-pass.
After half time the first chance fell the way of the Egyptian, but his left-footed curler was placed too soft and too central.
Just as in the first half though, Liverpool found the net soon after kick-off.
This time Coutinho’s free-kick delivery was met by Firmino, full on the volley at the far post, and he controlled his finish past Lukasz Fabianski for 2-0.
Salah then went close twice in 30 seconds, steering a low shot wide after another clever Coutinho free-kick before being blocked one-on-one by the keeper.
Just after the hour though, Liverpool ended the game as a contest with two goals in a minute.
First Robertson’s cross was only half-cleared, with fellow full-back Alexander-Arnold racing in to win possession and thunder in first league goal off the crossbar.
Moments later another quick transition saw Salah freed in the box and he rolled it across for Firmino to tap home a no-look finish for 4-0.
Jurgen Klopp acted decisively at that point, subbing off Firmino and Salah for Dominic Solanke and Adam Lallana for much-needed game time. James Milner also replaced Robertson for the last 15 minutes, with the left-back having been required to play every game of late.
Liverpool comfortably saw out the remainder of the game and there was even time for a late Oxlade-Chamberlain fifth, lobbing a finish into the far corner after more shambolic defending.
The result saw the Reds jump back up to fourth, above Tottenham, with the three points on Boxing Day.
TIA Man of the Match: Philippe Coutinho
Referee: Kevin Friend