Written by Carl Walker
First off let me just say that I, like many others, wish Hull’s Ryan Mason a full and speedy recovery after the clash of heads with Gary Cahill yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this tough time.
On Saturday Swansea travelled to Anfield to take on Liverpool in what was, a free swing if you like. Unfancied to get anything from the game by pretty much everyone, no one would be surprised if they came back to south wales with a loss. Liverpool the top scorers in the league against the leakiest defence in the top flight. Swansea had never won a league game at Anfield in their history. Liverpool unbeaten in the league at home for almost a year. Everything was against them, all the odds and stats pointed to one result.
As Swansea emphatically strolled off the Anfield pitch at the full-time whistle, it was a much deserved and needed three points for the relegation survival. A real gritty, tough and disciplined performance from the Swans and a performance that they must now build on.
Swansea set their stall out on Saturday to frustrate and counter a Liverpool side who were looking to go second in the league and the game plan was executed to perfection which saw them walk away with a 3-2 win and three vital points.
The midfield three became a five when out of position and kept shape extremely well, shifting from side to side, the midfield trio of Carroll, Fer and Cork closed down and pressed as soon as Liverpool looked to encroach into their half.
The back four also need to take massive credit, resolute is a word that has not been used much this season when talking about Swansea this season, but on the whole, they were magnificent. Young centre-half Alfie Mawson was fantastic, playing beyond his years in many respects and was not phased by the Anfield atmosphere. The stats back this up too.
In the second half, Swansea took their chances, a brace from Llorente and a winner from Sigurdsson was enough in the end but not without a brief and fleeting Liverpool come back, where Roberto Firmino bagged himself a brace to pull the teams level. On the whole, it was Swansea, who’s organisation and commitment ended up getting them the win and it was a very poor day for Liverpool in the end.
Swansea this season have been a bit of a circus, a poor summer of recruitment and onto their third manager already but Saturday will be a glimmer of hope that they have turned the corner and that they are finally on the right track to survival.
Paul Clement has taken over at the helm and it seems that his experience at working at some of the world’s biggest clubs as a number two could prove vital, this coupled with some very astute purchases so far in the window have proven to be good value.
Tom Carroll, who has spent some time on loan at Swansea in the past had seen his game time at Tottenham limited this season and the move was made permanent. He provides energy along with technical ability in the centre of the park which compliments the more robust players like Cork and Fer. Proving to be a very good signing already.
Martin Olsson, the marauding left back that has been brought in from Norwich gives added width and plenty of pace down the left-hand side, he also knows how to defend properly and keeps his composure and discipline, this again was an area that Swansea struggled but Clement has addressed this accordingly.
Going forward for Swansea they are still one or two players light in terms of depth and quality. A striker, even on loan would help ease the burden on Llorente, as Borja Baston has only found the net once so far this season. Defensively, Alfie Mawson is the future, but Swansea need another centre-half to help sure up the defence. Van der Hoorn has struggled to adapt to the speed and physicality of the Premier League leaving Mawson and Fernandez as the first choice pairing.
There is still plenty of work to do for Swansea before they can be seen as safe from the drop but the signs are encouraging, especially if they win their home games and get bonus points away from home. Too good to go down? We have seen this before with West Ham and Newcastle. No one is safe.
The Premier League is cruel and unforgiving at times so hopefully, Swansea have learnt the lesson from the past eighteen months and can use Saturdays win as a springboard to pulling away from the danger zone. Paul Clement answered the SOS call and If they continue to play like they did at Anfield on Saturday, they should be safe.
Swansea fans, what are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!