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    Swansea City 1-2 Liverpool Match Report


    Liverpool showed the kind of fighting qualities that are so often required of Premier League Champions as goals by Roberto Firmino and James Milner completed an impressive second-half comeback against Swansea.

    Jurgen Klopp's team struggled to match the home side's fast tempo and workrate in the opening 45 minutes but they found their passing accuracy after their interval to break down a tiring opposition and record a fourth successive league win.

    The improved performance was not enough for under-pressure Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin to save his job as his side failed to build upon an impressive first-half display in which Leroy Fer had given them an early lead.

    Guidolin was dismissed from his role on Monday morning after his side had collected only one point from a possible 18 since the opening day of the season and his successor was immediately named as Le Havre coach Bob Bradley.



    The afternoon had begun so brightly for Guidolin and his Swansea team, who caught Liverpool cold with an fast and energetic start to proceedings that should have been rewarded with a lead in the opening five minutes.

    Record signing Borja Baston, who arrived on a £15.5 million deal from Atletico Madrid in the summer, was handed his first league start and it looked certain he would give his team an early advantage when he headed Wayne Routledge's pinpoint cross over the bar from six yards.

    The Swans didn't have to wait long to make amends for their earlier profligacty, however, as their excellent start to the match was rewarded when Leroy Fer tapped into the net from close-range following Gylfi Sigurdsson's corner.

    Sigurdsson's set-piece was met by Baston at the back post, whose header was flicked on by Dejan Lovren before the ball fell invitingly to Leroy Fer to prod into an empty net from virtually on the goalline.



    Liverpool's cause was made all the more difficult 10 minutes later when the in-form Adam Lallana was forced off with a groin injury that will force him to miss England's upcoming qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.

    Baston then should have extended his side's lead midway through the first-half when he again found himself unmarked in the penalty area, this time from Sigurdsson's free-kick, but he headed wide from close-range.

    Referee Michael Oliver had a difficult call to make just before half-time as he adjudged Lallana's replacement, Daniel Sturridge, to have dived in his attempts to win a penalty when he was subjected to a push from Swansea defender Kyle Naughton.

    Roberto Firmino recorded Liverpool's first effort on target after 50 mins with a 25-yard strike that was easily saved by Lukasz Fabianski as Klopp's side upped their intensity after the break and started to dominate possession.

    Brazilian duo Firmino and Coutinho were beginning to find pockets of space that were not there in the first-half and it wasn't long before the away side were able to draw level courtesy of Firmino's fourth goal of the season.



    Swansea's resistance was finally broken in 54 minutes when the former Hoffenheim forward found space in-behind The Swans' defence to head home Jordan Henderson's cross after Coutinho's initial free-kick had only been partially cleared.

    It was mostly one-way traffic following Liverpool's equalizer and Coutinho was unfortunate not to have given his side the lead on the hour-mark when his one-two with Georginio Wijnaldum set-up a shooting opportunity but his effort curled inches wide of the post.

    The Reds also could have gone in front when James Milner dispossessed Mike van der Hoorn on the edge of the penalty area before he pulled the ball back to Mane, whose left-footed strike from 12 yards was blocked by Naughton.

    Just as it looked as though Liverpool's winning run in the league would end after three matches, they were dealt a helping hand when Angel Rangel bundled Firmino over in the Swansea penalty area with seven minutes remaining.



    Rangel had allowed the ball to bounce following Modou Barrow's lofted clearance, enabling Firmino the chance to pick-up a position goal-side of the Spaniard before he was duly pushed to the ground.

    Up stepped James Milner to score his fourth penalty of the season, opting to nonchalantly chip the ball into the centre of the goal to find the space that had been vacated by Lucasz Fabianski dive to his right.

    The Reds should have extended their advantage minutes later when substitute Divock Origi's inviting cross was too far ahead of the stretching Sturridge and Coutinho's effort from a tight angle was comfortably saved by Fabianski.

    For all Liverpool's dominance in the second-half, their lead was still precarious and it was nearly wiped out with virtually the last kick of the match when van der Hoorn missed a guilt-edged chance to equalize.

    The Dutchman found himself unmarked from Angel Rangel's pinpoint cross, six yards from goal, but somehow managed to steer his effort wide as his manager looked on from the touchline with his head in his hands.



    Perhaps Guidolin knew the fate that lay in store for him as less than 48 hours later, he became the Premier League's first managerial casualty of the season and was swiftly replaced by the former United States national coach Bob Bradley.

    It was clear to see that the Swansea team were playing for their manager's future as they gave what was arguably their best performance of the season, but the Italian was ultimately made to pay the price for his club's poor start to the campaign.

    Had Baston converted one of the two glorious headed chances in the first-half that had fallen his way, Guidolin's nine-month stay at the club may have been extended beyond the two-week international week.

    Bradley's first game in charge of The Swans is away to Arsenal on October 15, with the Gunners hoping to mark the 20-year anniversary of Arsene Wenger's first match in charge with a sixth successive league win.



    Liverpool deserve much credit for the way they turned the match around in the second-half with their cohesive and fast-tempo football proving too much for the Swansea rearguard to handle in the end.

    The Reds would probably have lost a match of this calibre in previous seasons but their new-found confidence under Klopp and the fighting qualities they displayed in the second half were befitting of a team that are considered by many as title contenders.

    The 18-time league champions, who now climb above Everton into fourth position, return to action on October 17 when they entertain sixth-place Manchester United.
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    Item Reviewed: Swansea City 1-2 Liverpool Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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