Swansea City vs. Liverpool
| Monday, January 22nd |
Premier League | Liberty Stadium
20:00 GMT / 15:00 EST
After the flurry of activity over the holiday period, Liverpool get to enjoy something of a mini-preseason (all of eight days) in the wake of their thrilling victory over the league leaders Manchester City. Next up for Jürgen Klopp’s squad are Swansea City - who were cellar-dwellers when they visited Anfield last December and are bottom-of-the-table for this fixture - this time led by manager Carlos Carvalhal.
Carvalhal has promised to have a “surprise” in store for Liverpool when the Reds travel to the Liberty Stadium, but the real surprise will be if he can quell some of the momentum that Klopp’s starters have been able to generate. As we’ve noted before, the pressure will very much be on the heavily-favored visitors, and Liverpool’s players might do well to remember that they were the ones tipped to drop all three points when the previously unstoppable Manchester City rolled into town.
Swansea still have a mountain ahead to climb if they are to avoid relegation this season, but things have been looking up slightly since Carvalhal took over the reins. They have managed to muster four points from the last three Premier League fixtures, one of which was a defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Most recently, they were able to edge past Wolverhampton Wanderers to secure progress in the F.A. Cup thanks to goals from Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Bony.
On the fitness side, Swansea City are also seeing some better times. While a number of key players were out of commission when they conceded five goals at Anfield, this time, Carvalhal may be able to count on some players returning. The abovementioned Bony should be available, and Tammy Abraham may be able to mark his return following a hip issue.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Can; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Liverpool’s trio of attacking players - it’s not too late to make the Fun Boy Three or Three Tenors monikers stick - are expected to return following their scintillating performance against Manchester City. This presumes that Mohamed Salah has recovered from a bug he picked up late last week which kept him out of training - the same bug, it is believed, that put Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren out of commission. Assuming Lovren is still not 100%, Virgil van Dijk might get his first League start for Liverpool alongside Matip.
Elsewhere, Loris Karius will continue to get the opportunity to show what he can do, while a quietly enraged Simon Mignolet crushes citrus fruits with his bare hands on the bench. We get to see whether Trent Alexander-Arnold will be called upon to spell Joe Gomez at fullback, while on the other side of the pitch we’ll likely see the return of Andy Robertson, who hasn’t stopped running since full time was called on the Manchester City match last week.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Daniel Cook
Fourth official: Mike Joness
Kickoff is set for 20:00 GMT/ 15:00 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.