Just over thirty years ago on October 3rd 1981, Swansea City faced Liverpool at Anfield during one of their most successful seasons in their now nearing 100 year history and the match was remembered by many for the above image – John Toshack, lining up with his Swansea team-mates, wearing the Liverpool colours whilst mourning the loss of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly.
This statement made a big impact on the Kop and given the circumstances it was utterly warranted, after all it was Shankly who gave the ex-Wales manager his chance to shine in the big time, but it’s a statement which will always be attributed to this fixture.
Since then Swansea have visited Anfield twice with one result ending in, what is still their record defeat, of 8-0 in the FA Cup in 1990 but a lot has changed since those halcyon days for the Reds.
Back to current day and Saturday’s fixture will be the fourth away visit to one of the top six in just six away trips this season. Partially due to this, Swansea have only picked up one point away from home, against Wolves where they threw away the win conceding two late goals, but will be looking to surprise Liverpool in this tough fixture.
Record signing Danny Graham has truly found his goalscoring feet recently, scoring consecutively in the past four games and is Swansea’s current top goalscorer. Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer are also both in top form, with each of the players adapting to life in the Premier League naturally and maintaining their stellar performances which they displayed in the Championship last season.
As we all know, Swansea like to play an attractive game on the pitch. Last week against Bolton, Leon Britton managed an impressive 100% pass success rate by completing all 67 of his passes and Joe Allen was close behind only giving away the ball once with his efforts. These two players will be looking to make the best of the opposing midfield, in which Liverpool have plenty of options to choose from, but will certainly be challenged further in front of the Anfield faithful.
The home team find themselves in 6th place before entering the fixture on Saturday, only one point behind Chelsea who lie in the final Champions League spot. Kenny Dalglish has thus far spurred his team on to remain unbeaten at home, however draws at home to Norwich and Sunderland have shown that there are weaknesses to the team.
Whilst Swansea will give Liverpool a challenge on the pitch, similarly to Norwich a fortnight ago, their dour form away from home will surely play into the Reds’ hands. Dalglish will be looking for his big man/little man combination up front in the shape of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll to continue their good form together after a promising performance against West Brom last week, which saw Carroll score and Suarez pick up a penalty for his side.
Another player who will definitely be looking to get one over the South Wales team will be Craig Bellamy. Bellamy was in action against the Swans twice last season in the South Wales derby during his time at Cardiff, so he’ll certainly have something to prove and will no doubt have the visiting fans on his back for 90 minutes if he plays a part in the fixture.
Liverpool will be without their two talismanic players Steven Gerrard (ankle) and Jamie Carragher (calf) for the fixture but otherwise report a clean bill of health. Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll are expected to continue their partnership up-front.
Swansea are still without a trio of players that was also missing from last week’s fixture against Bolton. Kemy Agustien (hamstring) is nearing match fitness but will probably be rested for the fixture, plus Stephen Dobbie (ankle) and Steven Caulker (knee) both remain doubtful for the fixture but are on track to return for the next home game against Manchester United. Alan Tate (broken leg) and Ferrie Bodde (knee) also remain the two long-term injuries for the side. Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers will more than likely field an unchanged line-up for the third fixture running.
Swansea (from): Vorm, Williams, Taylor, Britton, Graham, Sinclair, Dyer, Routledge, Monk, Lita, Moore, Bessone, Moreira, Rangel, Allen, Tremmel, Gower, Richards, Lucas, Moras.
Liverpool (from): Jones, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Aurelio, Suarez, Carroll, Maxi Rodriguez, Henderson, Coates, Kuyt, Downing, Spearing, Lucas, Wilson, Reina, Adam, Suso, Sterling, Doni, Kelly, Coady, Skrtel, Flanagan, Bellamy, Wisdom, Robinson.
Prediction – 3 – 2 – Liverpool should take the win at Anfield but it’ll be a closely run game that could involve a lot of goals, Swansea’s pace and ability to attack on the break could be a threat.
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