Liverpool's longest break in what seems like forever finally comes to an end tomorrow, and depending on how other fixtures go today, they could finish tomorrow having established themselves in the top four for the first time since very early in the season. They'll need to catch a few breaks in order for that to happen, and even if it doesn't happen by tomorrow, the schedule affords ample opportunity for Brendan Rodgers' squad to break through before season's end.
The task at hand tomorrow is a challenging one, however, as Liverpool are yet to win at Swansea City since their promotion in the 2011-2012 campaign. Under Rodgers they've managed two draws, including last season's 2-2 that included a Jonjo Shelvey goal and three assists, two of which gifted Liverpool with chances that resulted in goals from Daniel Sturridge and Victor Moses.
Shelvey will no doubt play some part tomorrow, and Garry Monk will welcome back Bafetimbi Gomis, whose collapse early in the 3-2 loss at Spurs last time out was among the scarier sights this season. The French striker has a vasovagal condition that causes low blood pressure, which was responsible for his fainting spell at White Hart Lane. Both started in that match, with Monk settling on Lukasz Fabianski in goal, Neil Taylor, Ashley Williams, Federico Fernandez, and Kyle Naughton at the back, Shelvey, Ki Sung-Yeung, and Jack Cork in the midfield, and Gomis, Wayne Routledge, and Gylfi Sigurdsson in attack.
Recent form has been a little up and down, with only one home win in the new year. That came over Manchester United, however, completing the double for Monk's side with two impressive wins. They've also been on the receiving end, with Chelsea hitting them for five in mid-January and Sunderland and West Ham managing to hold them in 1-1 draws.
Can Toure Sakho
Sterling Henderson Allen Moreno
As discussed yesterday, Rodgers will welcome back Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen, while Martin Skrtel is expected to be available after suffering a concussion against Blackburn. Jon Flanagan, Lucas, Jose Enrique, Jordon Ibe, and Brad Jones all remain out. Those suffering from tired legs a week ago should be well rested after a brief break and eight days total between the draw last Sunday and tomorrow's visit to Wales.
Tomorrow should see Emre Can restored to a defensive role with Allen fit again, while Mamadou Sakho is available after featuring for the U21s last Monday. That leaves one from Skrtel, Kolo Toure, and Dejan Lovren, and while Skrtel might be likely, it would be preferable to see him rested after the scary fall against Blackburn. Toure wasn't quite as steady, but would likely be far better when playing alongside Can and Sakho rather than Johnson and Lovren.
Allen comes straight back into the starting eleven to pair with Jordan Henderson in the midfield, while Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana, or Lazar Markovic will start on the flank opposite Alberto Moreno. Each have spent time there in recent weeks, and each are a viable option depending on Rodgers' preference. Markovic and Lallana combined well early against Blackburn, while starting Sterling there would allow the manager to go with Lallana and Coutinho just off of Daniel Sturridge up front.
That seems like the direction Rodgers is leaning, with Sturridge surely included and two of Sterling, Coutinho, and Lallana providing support. There is always the option of going with two up front and only one removed, with Mario Balotelli the most likely partner for Sturridge and Coutinho--at least on current form--the frontrunner for the one in support.
Kickoff is set for 8:00PM GMT/4:00PM EDT on Monday, with Sky Sports 1 providing coverage in the UK and NBCSN airing the match in the US. Our coverage will continue with any breaking team news, team sheets when they’re released, and live coverage tomorrow including full viewing options and post-match reactions. If you haven’t already, sign up for an SB Nation account and join us for it.
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