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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 19 January 2021
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Good morning, everyone (yawn).

No, you haven’t imagined it. There really is a game kicking off this early and Jurgen Klopp is not too happy about it.

It’s an interesting one. Liverpool are in seventh right now but have four games left. They’re five points behind West Ham in fifth and could still have a big influence on the European places.

Ironically, their result today may depend on how well they’ve recovered from Thursday’s exploits.

For Swansea, they’re safe but would probably prefer a bit more distance between them and the relegation-threatened clubs.

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The big news, of course, is that Liverpool have made eight changes from their defeat to Villarreal on Thursday night.

Danny Ward, Brad Smith, Pedro Chirivella and Kevin Stewart aren’t exactly household names but they have all appeared already this term.

Two changes for Swansea, meanwhile. Amat and Montero come in for Fernandez and Leroy Fer.

Liverpool will only have six substitutes today as Conor Randall became ill last night and misses out, according to Jurgen Klopp.

It’s a Premier League debut for 18-year-old Pedro Chirivella, by the way. And a really raw, inexperienced midfield generally for Liverpool today.

LiverpoolXI

5Mins

The home side have started brightly here, at a misty Liberty Stadium. Inevitably, Liverpool struggling to make much stick in the opening exchanges.

8Mins

Brad Smith wanting to show some aggression early on and lay down a marker but judged to have gone in a bit too hard on Wayne Routledge there.

9Mins

Nervy moment for Chirivella as he almost coughs up possession in a really dangerous area. Credit to the youngster though – he shows strength and composure to shake off a couple of challenges and keep the ball.

11Mins

Ibe gets a cross in from the left and Sturridge throws a left leg at it. He doesn’t wrap his foot around the ball and it’s well wide. Difficult chance for lots of reasons, in fairness.

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VERY CLOSE! That’s a great chance for Sigurdsson and well worked by Swansea. A little pass into Ayew and he instantly tees it up for the attacker to run onto. But with all the goal to aim at, he doesn’t connect properly and it’s a tame strike straight at Ward.

14Mins

Liverpool are really, really sloppy early on here. Coutinho gives it away almost on the edge of his own box and Ayew’s cross is subsequently turned away at the far post by Smith.

Moments later, Ayew beats Lovren and the ball sits up nicely for him inside the area. But it’s a wild finish.

19Mins

Wow. Liverpool seem very out-of-sorts. It’s tired and weary and nothing is sticking. Possession is being squandered so easily and so frequently and they can’t seem to get anything going in the final third. Rain lashing down now.

17Mins

Dominant Swansea and they have a free-kick here…

22Mins

That was coming. Moments before, Swansea attacked from deep and Ayew was only prevented from hitting the net by a despairing challenge from Lovren.

But from the resulting corner, Ayew rises above the centre-back and powers the header past Ward.

They deserve that. They’ve been good so far – Liverpool not so much.

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VERY CLOSE! Great save from Ward after Jack Cork was brilliantly played in by Routledge. The goalkeeper was going the wrong way but stuck out a right boot and saved the shot with his leg. On the follow-up, he’s there again to scramble a punch away.

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BOOKING! Brad Smith has had a difficult opening here and he brings down Routledge. That’s a yellow card for the youngster.

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VERY CLOSE! Oh. What a miss. Swansea should really be two goals in front here. Sigurdsson’s delivery is magnificent again and the in-swinger finds Jordi Amat about three yards from goal, completely unmarked. Somehow, he heads over. Major let-off for Liverpool here who have just not got started at all.

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VERY CLOSE! Goodness me. This is one-way traffic. Montero is the latest to try his luck, racing towards goal before thumping a low drive towards the near post. Ward gets down and beats it away.

34Mins

Well, given the pressure Liverpool have been under, that’s far from an unexpected development. They just haven’t been able to get turned in central midfield at all and the two youngsters have struggled majorly. As a result, Coutinho has dropped further back to try and get involved but he’s the guilty party here as he’s dispossessed by Cork.

He pushes towards the edge of the area and as the Liverpool defence backs off, he curls a terrific strike inside the near post.

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BOOKING! Clyne brings down Montero and that’s him on a yellow now too – both Liverpool full-backs have picked up bookings so far.

38Mins

At the other end, Ojo plays it through for Sturridge and he shows his pace to race towards goal. He has a look and sees Fabianksi off his line. The chip is a good idea but the accuracy is lacking slightly and it drifts wide of the far post.

44Mins

Klopp has been doing a lot of smiling on that bench. Not a good sign for his side.

Probably like when one of your teachers went very quiet. You just knew the apocalypse was on its way.

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BOOKING! He’s already got his name on the score-sheet and now Jack Cork is in the book too.

45Mins

An appalling half for Liverpool, who sleepwalked their way through the opening period. Swansea are fully deserving of the two-goal lead and Fabianski has been a spectator, really.

Surely Klopp will bring some more experienced players on and try and get something going.

Adam Lallana, Lucas and Benteke all on the bench.

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SUBSTITUTIONS! Benteke and Lucas (on) – Coutinho and Chirivella (off)

Klopp makes two switches and decides to go with two out-and-out strikers.

55Mins

Better from Liverpool so far but…things couldn’t really have been much worse. Still some sloppy moments though, with Lovren the latest guilty party.

58Mins

Benteke goes down in the area, claiming he was fouled. There was some jersey pulling but he dramatically falls to the turf with arms outstretched. As the cross went over the Belgian’s head, Taylor pushed it out for a corner but very nearly put through his own net – the ball skimming the upright.

64Mins

Ooof. That’s a nasty collision. Liverpool do well to work it neatly in the right channel of the area but as Fabianksi rushes out, Taylor slides it to put it out for a corner. Left-back and goalkeeper collide, with the former Arsenal netminder getting a boot in the face.

68Mins

Did I say game on? Well, scratch that. Because Liverpool commit about five errors in a row and Ayew rifles a low left-foot strike inside Ward’s near post.

66Mins

Game on. The substitute is left completely unmarked at the corner as Sigurdsson loses him. From a few yards, he finds the net though Stewart could easily have got to it as well.

71Mins

The camera cut to Klopp on the sideline and his facial expression said it all.

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SUBSTITUTION! Naughton (on) – Montero (off)

The tricky winger is replaced, probably to the relief of Nathaniel Clyne.

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RED CARD! Oh, dear. Brad Smith picked up a yellow very early on in the game and has been troubled at various intervals. And he mistimes a challenge on Routledge as Swansea break from a Liverpool corner. No protests. Just a bad day at the office all around. And he trudges off the pitch as Klopp allows himself another hearty laugh.

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BOOKING! Martin Skrtel is the latest Liverpool player to pick up a yellow and they need to be careful here.

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SUBSTITUTION! Brannagan (on) – Ibe (off)

A Premier League debut for the highly-rated 19-year-old who slots into midfield.

 

Flag 81Mins

VERY CLOSE! Great hit from Rangel as the ball flashes across the area. It seems to take a touch off of Daniel Sturridge’s hand before the full-back runs onto it and thumps it high towards the near post. It drifts to the right and catches the outside of the upright.

88Mins

So, with this result, Liverpool will remain in 7th, four points from the top-five. Swansea move up to 13th, four points from the top-ten.

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SUBSTITUTION! Fulton (on) – Britton (on)

Four minutes of injury time here but it’s all wrapped up, to be honest. Some minutes for the 22-year-old.

That’s a blow for Liverpool, who would’ve hoped to head into the second-leg with Villarreal in a slightly more positive way.

Daniel Sturridge didn’t stay on the pitch at the full-time whistle, electing instead to head straight for the tunnel. What does that say about his role next Thursday? And maybe his future at Anfield?

Klopp will rage at his side’s silly errors and the way they allowed Swansea have it their own way from the very start.

For the home side, a great performance and well worth the win.

Their big players stepped up – Andre Ayew on the double while Gylfi Sigurdsson caused some trouble too.

Thanks for staying with us – plenty of more coverage on the site this afternoon.

About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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