Managerless Swansea City thumped at Anfield by five-star Merseysiders…
After their pre-Christmas six-goal thriller at Arsenal, Liverpool were involved in another high-scoring encounter on Tuesday evening but this time the outcome was an emphatic 5-0 win over bottom-side Swansea City.
The gulf in quality between the two sides was evident in the opening stages, and unlike several previous matches at Anfield in recent seasons, such disparities were accurately born out come the final whistle.
Following the frustrating home draws against Everton and West Bromwich Albion earlier this month, Liverpool’s cause on this occasion was aided by an early strike as Philippe Coutinho found the back on the net from the edge of the area in the 6th minute.
The goal was assisted by a quick exchange of passes between Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, and the trio were a constant threat early on.
At the other end there was little to worry about other than a Jordan Ayew header that went straight at Simon Mignolet, although robust youngster Oliver McBurnie was a willing presence up top on his full debut.
The visitors passed the ball around well enough for spells as the half progressed, but it was easy to see why they were the Premier League’s lowest scorers prior to kick-off.
After a mid-half lull, Liverpool finished the opening 45 minutes strongly and, shortly after a muted penalty appeal was overlooked, Firmino wasted a great chance to double the lead by dragging wide.
The hosts continued to control proceedings at the start of the second half; Firmino failing to make contact on a fine Trent Alexander-Arnold cross and Salah being denied by a diving Łukasz Fabianski.
Klopp’s side finally doubled their lead in the 51st minute when a brilliant Coutinho free-kick was side-footed home at the back post by Firmino.
Another well-worked set-piece routine almost provided goal number three moments later but Salah was marginally off-target after moving away from goal to shoot a Coutinho pull-back first time.
Leroy Fer briefly threatened to pull a goal back for Swansea but Liverpool effectively wrapped the game up when Trent Alexander-Arnold brilliantly ran onto a bouncing ball in the 65th minute and fired in via the underside of the bar.
Three became four 60 seconds later when Salah unselfishly squared for Firmino to tap home the simplest of opportunities from close range.
The goal triggered a double substitution from Klopp, as Firmino and Salah were withdrawn, and both of the replacements, Adam Lallana and Dominic Solanke, were lively throughout the closing stages.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain smartly added the fifth with just under 10 minutes remaining after reacting quickly to a blocked cross and slotting home into the far corner.
Solanke twice went close to adding a sixth late on as Swansea began to capitulate and look every bit the relegation certainties the bookies have them down as being, although substitute Tammy Abraham did extend Mignolet with the last touch of the game.
Analysing the game at his post-match press conference, Klopp remarked: “They didn’t get a lot of chances to be honest, they had one or two half-chances but it was quite intense so the way was always really long to come back into the right positions, the right situations.
“Even in a not perfect, not really good first half, we had enough chances to score two or three goals so that should be enough. I was not disappointed or whatever at half-time [but] we had to defend the situations much better, we had to be more compact.
“In a few moments we were kind of man-orientated, that’s only allowed in our own box, so we had those few problems and we did better in the second half.
“I think we scored the first three goals after counter-pressing situations so that’s good, and then it looks like after the game it’s 5-0 and you think, ‘wow, easy game’ but it was not an easy game, it was really hard work and I have no problem with that, absolutely not.
“So I’m really happy about the things we learned from the game tonight. Now it’s a perfect result for us, nobody got injured as far as I know, very important three points, five goals, clean sheet, all good.”
This was the 12th time Liverpool have scored three or more times in a single game in their last 16 outings in all competitions.
The Reds are in league action again on Saturday when Leicester City visit Anfield for their final match of 2017.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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