Liverpool 1-3 Swansea Match Report
Liverpool continued their defence of the League (Capital One) Cup at home to Swansea who were narrowly defeated by Premiership Champions Manchester City at the weekend. Liverpool went into the game on a 4 match unbeaten league run including a 2-2 draw at local rivals Everton last Sunday. Added spice to the fixture was the fact that Liverpool were playing Brendan Rodgers’ former club for the first time since leaving them in the summer.
Brendan Rodgers made wholesale changes to his team for the visit of Swansea, Rodgers made 10 changes to the team that started at Goodison with only Brad Jones keeping his place in the team. Obviously Rodgers was using his squad with the busy fixture list Liverpool have, and Rodgers feels the Capital One Cup gives some of his fringe players a chance to impress. Jordan Henderson, Jamie Carragher, Coates and Jack Robinson made up the defence in front of Brad Jones, with Assaidi and Downing the wide midfield men alongside Joe Allen, Shelvey and Joe Cole in the middle, with young Yesil playing up front. Brendan Rodgers selected a strong list of substitutes with Gerrard, Suarez, Skrtel, Wisdom, Sterling and Suso on the bench.
It took until the 9th minute to witness the first chance of the eagerly anticipated cup tie when Yesil’s persistence almost put him through on goal but Ashley Williams managed to thwart the youngster.
Williams sent a raking ball through to Dyer but his touch let him down as Jones gathered. The visitors started the match confidently and were having the lion’s share of possession. Ki-Sung Yeung then had the Australian goalkeeper scrambling across his goal line with a 20-yard punt.
Then, with 25 minutes on the clock, only the sort of last-ditch block tackle that Jamie Carragher has made his trademark over the years prevented Hernandez from a clean shot at goal after a crisp one-two between the Swansea winger and Michu had dissected the Reds’ defence.
Stewart Downing then had a low shot from distance turned round the post by goalkeeper Tremmel, but Jonathan De Guzman spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring for the Swans when his attempted lob over the onrushing Jones only succeeded in finding the roof of the net at the end of a lightening counter.
Swansea capitalised on their good spell of possession in the 34th minute when Chico rose highest to head home from a corner-kick and send the large travelling support wild with delight.
Liverpool could have restored instant parity had Cole been able to get any purchase on a header from Assaidi’s centre when unmarked, but his attempt lacked power and bounced into the grateful gloves of Tremmel.
Yesil and Downing had a couple of efforts before the break but the away side deservedly went in at half-time with a 1-0 lead.
Brendan Rodgers made a double substitution at the break with Gerrard and Suarez replacing Cole and Yesil.
Liverpool started the second half brightly and Shelvey shot over after creating space for himself. The England man then teed up Suarez with a sumptuous outside-of-the-boot cross that the Uruguayan nodded off target five minutes after the re-start.
Liverpool were on top now in their quest to find parity and they went very close in the 64th minute when Gerrard rattled the base of the post from long range which fell kindly to Downing 6 yards out but he missed horribly with his right foot.
But the Reds were perhaps fortunate to survive an incredible passage of play that followed next as a goalmouth scramble saw Swansea pepper the Kop end goal repeatedly. Only the reflexes of Jones and the bravery of Carragher denied them a second of the night.
Jones was then required to tip a stinging strike from Michu over the bar and Williams powered a header inches wide from the resulting corner.
It was then Liverpool’s turn to frantically try and turn the ball home in a crowded box as Shelvey, Coates, Carragher and Suarez all tried to net.
They were unable to, however, and within seconds Swansea doubled their advantage as they broke forward, resulting in Dyer tapping in Hernandez’s cross.
Liverpool now had a mountain to climb to stay in the Cup they won last February, and they were given a lifeline with 13 minutes to go when Suarez headed in a Gerrard free-kick.
But despite heavy late pressure, the Reds were unable to conjure up a dramatic equaliser as the Swans clinched victory with De Guzman’s last-gasp tap in as they broke away in the last minute.
Rodgers made a lot of changes and paid the price against his old side. Respectfully he gave many players a chance to impress, but not many did as they were second best to a good Swansea side who pressured Liverpool and passed the ball around confidently and also counter attacked dangerously. Brad Jones had a terrific game making some vital saves, but Liverpool really struggled in the first half with Carragher looking past his best and Joe Cole looking like a total waste of space and money. Assaidi struggled to get into the game along with Yesil not receiving much service. Stewart Downing was poor again and missed a total sitter after Gerrard hit the post. Liverpool played better once Suarez and Gerrard came on for the second half. Coates had a good game in defence with some timely tackles. But Swansea deserved the win and Brendan Rodgers will be disappointed to lose to his old team.