On Monday night at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw in an enthralling affair between two sides keen to get a win for vastly contrasting reasons.
With a point claimed, Brendan Rodgers’ men climbed to the summit of the Premier League ahead of Arsenal, and although they can claim to be the best team in the country for now, they won’t have been happy with how they performed for large periods.
With the match barely two minutes old, Michael Laudrup’s men grabbed the lead through former Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey. The Liverpool defence failed to clear the danger posed early on as Shelvey struck the ball past the flailing Simon Mignolet at the second bite of the cherry.
Cue a wall of sound, and a delirious crowd of home supporters.
However, merely one minute later Shelvey found himself hero turned villain as he gifted the ball to Daniel Sturridge inside his own box. And if there’s one thing a striker in form is going to do with an opportunity like that it’s score. And score he did as he swept the ball home past the defenceless Michael Vorm.
Then in the 36th minute Victor Moses who signed for the Merseysiders on loan on deadline day popped up to smash the ball home to give the visitors the impetus heading in at the break. Right then, it was all looking rosy for Liverpool.
There then followed a second half in which Liverpool’s midfield seemed to dissipate into the rafters of the ground as Swansea began to dominate proceedings and turn the screw.
The league leaders, as they’ve been doing for the past few matches, began to sit back and allowed Laudrup’s charges to come at them. And despite the fact that Liverpool have been quite steady and reliable at the back with Martin Skrtel and, in particular Mamadou Sakho proving themselves impressive throughout the opening three matches, it seemed inevitable that Swansea would score a second.
To put it simply, they couldn’t cope with the Welsh side’s pressure and exuberant play.
And so, it came as no real shock when Michu slotted home to level the scores.
It looked as though Phillippe Coutinho’s departure from the field of play due to injury was the big turning point of the game, as Iago Aspas didn’t seem up to the job of linking the play between defence and attack. Granted Aspas is a decent player, but he seemed off the pace and couldn’t acclimatise to the high tempo game.
In truth, it was sad that in Steven Gerrard’s 400th match as captain, for large spells of the game, Liverpool were guilty of some rather egregious defending as they failed to get a grip on proceedings. Along with this, they won’t have been happy that they couldn’t keep the momentum going with another win, and their fans will hope this was just a blip.
As for Swansea they’ll probably be disappointed with only a point, but Monday’s performance is sure to raise their fans’ hopes and lift them out of the early season slump that they’ve found themselves in to date. The Jacks will be keen for a similarly energetic display for their upcoming games.