Friday, February 3, 2023

3 Critical Battles Swansea Must Win To Derail Liverpool’s Juggernaut

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

Francesco Guidolin is going into this match vs Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, knowing full well the implications of a loss. He’d also know that there’s only so much he can do, and the outcome would depend on how certain key battles are won on the pitch. Here are three of those, which could decide the match for Swansea.

#1 Fernando Llorente vs Joel Matip

The man they call ‘Lion King’ would need to be on the prowl, as Liverpool season has shown a repeated inability to deal with second balls that are clipped up into the box. The 6’4” worth of mortar ammunition would need a constant supply of aerial balls into the box to fully test the creaky Liverpool defence. Standing in his way [quite literally] is the 6’5” frame of Joel Matip.

The stylish centre-back hailing from Bundesliga is quite adept at dealing with aerial assaults, but has conceded, on his arrival, that he’s still some way off from coping with the physically bruising demands of the English style, where defenders and goalkeepers are afforded much less protection. If Swansea have a chance of winning this match, this is one avenue they should try to go down vs Liverpool, every chance they get.

#2 Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Nathaniel Clyne

Almost joined Liverpool, did the Icelandic international, before his move to Spurs. Having a happy knack of scoring goal in the big matches, the man that’d be coming between him and the goal is a brick wall with studs on, and a jet pack, that goes by the name of Nathaniel Clyne.

The full-back is building on his reputation of being defensively solid, by being, along with James Milner, the two most productive full-backs in the league in terms of chance creation. While Gylfi’s task would be to snipe for the goal, he’d be equally responsible for curtailing Clyne’s surging runs forward, as would be Neil Taylor. But, you’d imagine, Neil would have his work cut out trying to shut out the sprightly Sadio Mane.

#3 Lukasz Fabianski vs Phil Coutinho

While the Polish international will have the screen of Amat and Van der Hoorn, there will be very little the two centre-backs will be able to do, if like against Hull and David Marshall, Phil Coutinho decides to ping one into the top corner from 30 yards out.

Fabianski would need to me mindful of where his post his, and his concentration will be tested to the fullest, knowing the number of long shot merchants Liverpool, have. None more so, than the Brazilian. Phil scored on and assisted two goals in the last fixture vs Hull City, and high on confidence, he’d be looking back himself for the odd punt or two.

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