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    Liverpool 2-3 Swansea City Match Report


    Swansea pulled off one of the biggest shocks of the season so far to beat Liverpool in the league at Anfield for the first time in the club's history.

    Two goals from Fernando Llorente in the space of four second-half minutes looked to have given the visitors full control but they then had to withstand a determined Liverpool fightback in order to secure a memorable victory.

    A Roberto Firmino double, which brought Liverpool level with over 20 minutes still remaining, set up a thrilling finale but it was Swansea who claimed all three points when Gylfi Sigurdsson scored his seventh goal of the season.

    The result enabled Paul Clement's side to climb out of the bottom three, while it proved damaging for Liverpool's title credentials after Chelsea's 2-0 win over Hull on Sunday left them trailing the London side by 10 points.



    Liverpool were hoping to cut the lead, held by Antonio Conte's team at the top of the Premier League, to four points and their chances were handed a boost with the return of Nathaniel Clyne and captain Jordan Henderson from injury.

    Philippe Coutinho was also making his first start in the league since the end of November, while Joel Matip returned to the bench after being given the green light to play by FIFA in light of a dispute with the Cameroon Football Federation.

    Swansea, meanwhile, handed debuts to new signings Martin Olsson, from Norwich, and Tom Carroll, from Tottenham, but knew that only three points would be enough to propel the club out of the bottom three.

    The Swans frustrated Liverpool in a largely uneventful first-half, which was dominated by the home side in terms of possession but they were unable to sufficiently test Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal.

    It could have been a different story had Emre Can converted a glorious chance that fell his way in the opening 10 minutes but he failed to keep his header down following a pinpoint Jordan Henderson cross.

    An unmarked Adam Lallana later found himself in a similar position to the one occupied by Can but his overhead kick, which cleared Fabianski's crossbar, failed to match the accuracy of Firmino's pass that had picked him out.



    For all Liverpool's territorial dominance, it was the visitors who went closest to breaking the deadlock in the first-half when debutant Tom Carroll was cleverly found by Gylfi Sigurdsson but his deflected effort hit the outside of the post.

    The visitors, perhaps encouraged by keeping the Premier League's most potent attack at bay in the opening 45 minutes, then caught their hosts cold at the start of the second-half to take an unexpected lead.

    Sigurdsson's corner was headed on by Federico Fernandez before Llorente and Wayne Routledge combined for the Spanish striker to stab the ball into the Liverpool net from four yards.

    Anfield, perhaps contemplating the prospect of a first home defeat in the league for over a year, fell silent once again four minutes later as Llorente doubled his side's lead with his eighth goal of the season.

    The former Juventus player gave a reminder of why he was formerly one of the most sought-after strikers in the world when he rose above Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan to powerfully head home Carroll's left-wing cross.



    Swansea's 2-0 lead didn't last long, however, as Roberto Firmino pulled a goal back for Liverpool within three minutes with a well-directed header of his own from James Milner's inswinging cross.

    The Brazilian nudged Martin Olsson to the ground before guiding the ball past Fabianski from seven yards to give his side renewed hope of completing a comeback with 35 minutes still remaining.

    The visitors remained dangerous as Liverpool pushed for an equalizer and could have regained their two-goal lead had Alfie Mawson's header landed a yard nearer to Mignolet's right-hand post.

    Jurgen Klopp's side did draw level, though, midway through the second-half as Roberto Firmino once again found space inside the Swansea penalty area to score from a left-wing cross.

    This time it was Georginio Wijnaldum who provided the assist, with Firmino bringing the ball down with his chest before caressing a left-footed strike past the dive of Fabianski from 12 yards.



    Liverpool looked the team most likely at this stage to win the game but there was to be one final sting in the tail that may just have ended their Premier League title hopes as early as January.

    Tom Carroll's foray into The Reds' penalty area was checked by Klavan but the Estonian only succeeded in giving the ball to Sigurdsson, who slotted the ball past Mignolet from eight yards.

    As Liverpool then started to press forward in the closing minutes in pursuit of an equalizer, they were denied by a combination of heroic defending from the visiting side and the Anfield woodwork.

    Lallana's volleyed cross was smothered by Fabianski, when Sturridge looked set to tap the ball home, while substitute Divock Origi's close-range strike was saved by the legs of the Polish goalkeeper as the home side started to increase their intensity.

    With four minutes remaining, Lallana again found space in the penalty area but his deflected strike rebounded off the crossbar and the former Southampton midfielder headed over from Sturridge's subsequent cross.



    The away side managed to hold on in the final few minutes to secure one of the most famous wins in the club's history, which ended Liverpool's 25-game unbeaten run at Anfield that had begun in January 2016.

    Paul Clement's side executed the perfect game plan of keeping a clean-sheet prior to half-time as well as showing a ruthless streak in front of goal when the few chances they created presented themselves.

    Swansea's character, which was questioned following their 4-0 capitulation against Arsenal seven days earlier, was also evident as the club's defenders threw their bodies on the line in the closing minutes.

    The Swans, who return to action on January 31 at home to Southampton, climb above Sunderland, Hull and Crystal Palace into 17th position in the table after all three sides suffered losses at the weekend.

    Jurgen Klopp's side, meanwhile, failed to win at home in the league for only the third time this season and the three dropped points, as well as win for Arsenal, meant that they dropped a place from third to fourth in the table.



    The Reds paid the price for a lackluster first-half display, in which they were unable to make the most of their superior possession, and for failing to deal with threat that Swansea possessed from set-pieces and counter-attacks.

    Liverpool lacked the pace usually provided by Sadio Mane, who is representing Senegal in the African Cup of Nations, as well as the commanding presence in defence of Joel Matip, who came on in the closing minutes.

    The club are next in action in the EFL Cup semi-finals, where they must overturn a 1-0 deficit at home to Southampton on Wednesday, while Wolverhampton Wanderers provide the opposition at Anfield for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 2-3 Swansea City Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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