Liverpool have begun to inch in the right direction in recent weeks, and with a win tomorrow they can pull level on points with opponents Swansea, who currently sit eighth and can themselves leapfrog past Tottenham, Arsenal, and maybe even surprise fifth place West Ham with a victory. Having seemed to have transitioned quickly from player to manager after replacing Michael Laudrup in February, Garry Monk has sought to refocus on the possession football that got them into the Premier League, and so far it seems to be working.
Swansea haven't scored many goals so far this season, but they have kept the ball away from their opponents and kept those opponents from scoring. They've scored just 23 times in their 18 games so far—one better than Liverpool—but they have only let in 19, the fourth best defensive record in the league. Liverpool have conceded five more times. And when it comes to Swansea's attack, while the season totals to date may not be hugely impressive, that Wilfried Bony has been in good form in December could be a concern for Liverpool.
The Ivorian striker, who Liverpool were reported to be interested in over the summer only to be put off by a rumoured £18M asking price and high wage demands that led them to turn to Mario Balotelli instead, has scored four times in the past seven matches. In total, he has eight goals so far this season, making him the league's fifth best goal scorer. He has also received scoring support from midfielders Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer, and Ki Sung-Yeung, all of whom have hit the back of the net three times so far.
They aren't a side that has looked especially good on the road, though, having won only once in their past six—their last road match, against Hull City before Christmas. Better equipped to grind teams down at home than to face the pressure that typically comes away from it, if Liverpool can use the crowd to push them back as they did Arsenal, the hosts should be favoured to come away with maximum points. Still, they aren't pushovers, and unlike in the League Cup, when Liverpool won 2-1, they won't be running out a b-team.
Toure Skrtel Sakho
Manquillo Henderson Can Moreno
With only two days off between matches, it's difficult to imagine there won't be some rotation and a few new faces in Liverpool's starting eleven. The big question perhaps is whether Brendan Rodgers sticks with three at the back or returns to a more conventional formation, but given the 3-6-1's success pinning back Arsenal and that Swansea are vulnerable to sides that overwhelm them with possession on the road, sticking with it—and giving Kolo Toure another start should Dejan Lovren be unready to return—seems likely.
In the midfield band ahead of them, both Lucas and Steven Gerrard seem ill-suited to playing back to back matches with so little turnaround, and given Emre Can's solid cameo against Burnley it wouldn't be a surprise to see him replace one of the two in the middle. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see Jordan Henderson, who has struggled at wingback, shifted inside for the other. That would mean at least one new wingback, with Alberto Moreno likely the first choice to come into the lineup on the left.
That could mean Lazar Markovic switches to the right or, having played a few matches in a row after a long spell spent stuck to the bench and likely slightly short of match fitness compared to some of the more regular starters, it could mean Javi Manquillo gets back into the lineup. Meanwhile in attack, any one of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, or Raheem Sterling could probably use a day off, but with fewer options to choose from it seems most likely Rodgers sticks with what's worked while hoping Daniel Sturridge returns soon.
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST on Monday, with Sky Sports 1 carrying the match in the UK and NBCSN providing coverage in the United States. Our coverage will continue with the overnight open thread tonight and carry into live coverage, team sheets an hour before kickoff, and post-match reaction. If you haven't already, sign up for an SBNation account and join us for it.