Liverpool: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Can, Wijnaldum, Chamberlain, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino
Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Routledge, Fer, Mesa, Carroll, Ayew, McBurnie.
James Milner’s post-match comments rang true for Liverpool in the aftermath of their 3-3 draw with Arsenal last Friday, with the midfielder claiming that the side needed to ‘be more boring’ and close out games. It seemed like his teammates had certainly taken on-board such remarks for the opening first-forty five, with Liverpool showing far less attacking verve and inventiveness than we’ve come to expect of them. Sitting off the Swansea players, it was hard to ascertain whether this was a change in tactics by Klopp or the result of Christmas Day festivities.
The first-half was blessed with one moment of stunning quality, though, as captain Philippe Coutinho combined neatly with Mohamed Salah to put the home side in the lead. Producing a goal we’ve seen the Brazilian pull off time and time again, Coutinho curled the ball into the top-right hand corner to give the Swans ‘keeper no chance.
19 goals and 10 assists for Coutinho in 28 games.
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) December 26, 2017
His international compatriot, Bobby Firmino, had a brilliant chance to double the scores just before the interval after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s press won the ball back for the Reds. Salah played in Firmino, only for the forward to skew his shot wide of the target and raise anxiety over whether Liverpool were going to be made to rue their missed chances at home once more.
The second-half saw the return of the real Liverpool though as Klopp’s side produced the goods, reflecting their dominance on the score-line. Coutinho was the mastermind of it all, delivering an inch-perfect free-kick to find Roberto Firmino at the far post. Making the most of this chance, the Brazilian volleyed the ball into the net from close range to make it 2-0.
That’s when the screw really turned. Trent Alexander-Arnold capped another bright performance at right-back with a goal not dissimilar to Jon Flanagan’s famous scorcher against Spurs.
— Liverpool Gifs (@lfcgif) December 26, 2017
The ball dropped invitingly on the edge of the area with the 19-year-old showing far more desire to beat Ayew to the ball and let fly. I’m sure Nathanial Clyne will be looking on with a worried expression as Trent continues to showcase what he can offer in the final third for The Reds.
Back came Bobby Firmino with another goal in the 65th minute, notching his 16th goal of the season in all competitions – four better than his tally for the entirety of the 2016/17 campaign. Although overshadowed by the brilliance of Salah and Coutinho, there can be no denying his importance to this Liverpool side.
As if Christmas couldn’t get any better for us Reds fans, Oxlade-Chamberlain soon made it 5-0. Albeit benefiting from some schoolboy defending from the Swansea back-four, the former-Arsenal man rifled in a delicious shot at close range as he continues to prove himself a more than valuable commodity at Anfield. Those who doubted him sure have gone quiet…
The result sees Liverpool close the gap on rivals Manchester United, who dropped points at home to Burnley earlier on in the day.
Next up is a visit from Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. Here’s to hoping we see some more goals flooding in for The Reds.