Liverpool vs. Swansea City
| Tuesday, December 26th |
Premier League | Anfield
17:30PM GMT / 12:30PM EST
Fresh off another draw-that-feels-like-a-loss (even though it shouldn’t), Liverpool get an opportunity to bounce back against cellar dwellers Swansea City on Boxing Day. And the Reds will enjoy the familiar comforts of home as they kick off a busy week of football by hosting a side desperate for some measure of stability after manager Paul Clement was dismissed midweek. Leon Britton will likely continue in the role of player-manager for this match.
This will mark the Reds’ first league meeting with Swansea this season. They’ll get to visit the Stadiwm Liberty - excuse me, Liberty Stadium - less than a month later in January. For now, Jürgen Klopp’s side will be hoping that Anfield will be able to provide a boost of energy before Liverpool faces off against Leicester City and Burnley within the space of a week. These are matches in which building some momentum is both achievable and necessary.
Swansea are in a real predicament at the moment, mired at the very bottom of the table and without a permanent manager. They’ve not coped well with the departure of Gylfi Sigurðsson to Everton, though the midfielder’s absence - who was quite vocal about Clement’s sacking being a mistake - is just one out of many elements that have gone awry for the Swans this season.
Britton was able to momentarily stop the bleeding with a 1-1 stalemate against Crystal Palace, but his task at Anfield will be considerably tougher, with Kyle Naughton having picked up a knock, and Wilfried Bony, Ki Seung Yung, and Leroy Fer all unlikely to be available against Liverpool. Meanwhile, Roque Mesa, who had to come off during the match against Crystal Palace, will be assessed prior to the match.
Statistically, there are some interesting threads coming into this contest. Liverpool, for all their profligacy, are still on a nice unbeaten run in the league. They also have not lost a Boxing Day fixture at Anfield since 1986. Swansea, for their part, have lost nineteen away matches in the league since the start of last season, but have a pretty good record in recent history against Liverpool at Anfield.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Grobbelaar Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Joël Matip will return to training before the match and is a possibility for the bench, while Adam Lallana continues his gradual easing back into the squad. Elsewhere, James Milner may deputize at either the left back position or in the middle of the park for the injured Jordan Henderson. It’s an open question whether we see Simon Mignolet in goal again following those crazy five minutes against Arsenal, and Klopp was unusually cagey about who gets the start against Swansea.
Up front, any one of the usual forward trio might be rested, but could Sadio Mané be given a chance to regain some confidence against a shaky Swansea back four? Keep an eye out for loan/transfer candidates Marko Grujić and Danny Ings as well. Alberto Moreno continues to be unavailable due to injury. Expect plenty of rotation this week, as Jürgen Klopp tries to keep his squad fresh for the busy holiday period.
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Mark Scholes
Fourth official: Paul Tierney
Kickoff is set for 17:30PM GMT/12:30PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.