Report - Liverpool 4-1 Swansea City
29th December 2014
It was a night to forget for Swansea City after a lacklustre display at Anfield, as Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool ran out as very comfortable 4-1 winners.
The Reds won't win an easier game all season as two of their goals saw Fabianski's attempted clearance go in off Lallana before Shelvey headed into his own net against his former club.
The Swans never ever got going in the game and were sloppy, slow, error prone and vulnerable throughout. Fortunately for them though, they were only one goal behind at the break but it looked like the hosts would go on and win comfortably when they doubled their advantage thanks to a big stroke of luck. Sigurdsson struck back instantly to make it 2-1 and you thought that there was a game on, but Liverpool didn't look like caving in like they've previously done this season.
Much was said about former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey ahead of the game today following Garry Monk's criticisms of him in the media. He's blasted his laziness and his performance tonight has made matters a whole lot worse.
Yet again, it was the Jonjo Shelvey show, and again, it was in Liverpool's favour.
Firstly, he was very lucky not to get sent off in the first half for attempting to elbow an opposing player. He was lacklustre all game, showed his laziness for Liverpool's third goal and then headed into his own net for their fourth.
It was quite surprising to see Shelvey start the game following Monk's criticisms, but the manager later said after the game that the laziness he commented on was regarding the challenges and actions he was making to pick up needless and avoidable bookings, rather than his overall play.
After only playing three days ago, Monk made a couple more changes. Jazz Richards replaced Angel Rangel, but Jazz only lasted 45 minutes after a challenging first half where he allowed Moreno far too much freedom on his left flank.
Liverpool dominated the first half proceedings and given Swansea's difficulty to deal with the host's quick play and good movement, it was a matter of when not if the first goal would come in the first half.
It was Moreno to open the scoring with 12 minutes left of the first half. It was an excellent, free-flowing attacking move from Liverpool but Swansea allowed them to make it happen. Dyer was too far forward and exposed the poor Jazz Richards against Moreno. The full back picks the ball up and cuts inside, the ball is moved over to the opposite side before coming back into the box for Moreno to easily pass into the net from 6 yards.
Liverpool were rewarded for their rapid start out from the blocks whilst the Swans were rattled and couldn't cope with the host's superior movement and quality on the ball. Even without it, the Swans struggled as the Reds applied excellent pressure and often regained possession very quickly thanks to the visitor's sloppiness.
It was similar to the 3-1 away defeat at West Ham. At the Boleyn Ground, they couldn't string 4 or 5 passes together that on another day, they would do with their eyes shut. They looked nervous and lacking any of the confidence than Monk insisted that his team would have going into the game.
It was fortunate that we arrived at Anfield on the back of two consecutive wins over the busy period and that was little pressure on us getting anything from the game.
Thankfully, Liverpool's final ball was lacking any real quality and we would have been glad to get in at half time only one goal down.
The second half was when the madness happened though.
It started when Lallana made it 2-0 after just 6 minutes of the restart. The ball came back to the goalkeeper Fabianski, and after delaying a clearance and attempting a shorter pass rather than a long punt up field - the Pole strikes the ball against the former Southampton man and it's gone into the net. A bit of luck for the hosts meant it was an uphill struggle from here.
But when Sigurdsson replied instantly to make it 2-1, you'd have thought that there was a game on.
Liverpool didn't quite look the same team when Swansea scored and applied some forward pressure. They were very briefly rattled, but not for long enough as ten minutes later, the 2-goal lead was restored.
This time it was another excellent, well-worked goal from Liverpool, but Jonjo Shelvey was like astatue in the middle, while Lallana danced around Fernandez and Rangel as if they were statues too.
Another 8 minutes later and it was four. Jonjo Shelvey, joking with double-goalscorer Lallana before the corner kick came in, flicked Henderson's cross in from the near post, over Fabianski and into the net.
The smile was soon wiped off his face - and that pretty much summed up his night - and his week for that matter.
With another 20 minutes or more left to play, we were lucky that the scoreline remained at 4-1 as Liverpool completely dominated while the Swans were prone to very basic and costly errors.
But even so, Monk's side did have brief moments going forward. Bony didn't do anything to convince the home fans that he would be the man for Rodgers to sign in January or in the Summer, as his header saved was his only real chance.
Bafetimbi Gomis came on and offered a lot more. He looked a lot brighter and sharper than in previous appearances and you'd be hoping that he can re-produce that sort of energy when Bony jets off for the African Cup of Nations.
It was a very disappointing night for the Swans. A 4-1 scoreline is always hard to take but you just feel that if Shelvey was left out which we expected given Monk's open criticisms for him, the Swans may have looked stronger in the middle if Ki started.
It wasn't all down to him. There were other culprits as few Swans could come out of the game with any credit. The wingers, Dyer and Routledge were well below the level required and were very poor in offering any defensive support to the full backs - which was crucial against Liverpool's attacking wing backs.
Sigurdsson was effectively crowded out of the game, thus making Bony unable to contribute and as a result Swansea never looked like a neat and tidy side that were capable of causing any threat.