Liverpool got strong performances across the board against Swansea City, and things looked especially good in midfield, where a narrow, box four of Lucas and Jordan Henderson sat behind Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana thoroughly dominated their opponents. Perhaps the best performance of the bunch belonged to Lallana, who showed not only the skill on the ball that made him the best attacking midfielder in the league last season but also his willingness to work, to run, to press and harry the opposition into mistakes.
Swansea’s midfield three, particularly with Jonjo Shelvey asked to sit deep with Leon Britton, had no answer for the movement of both Lallana and Coutinho, and it meant that the two attackers often had time to turn with the ball and run at a defence that already had their hands full with Raheem Sterling. Two strong defensive midfielders might have clogged the space and fought Liverpool’s midfield to a draw, but as things stood, Swansea never had a chance. It’s similar to the formula that saw Liverpool dominate Arsenal, only this time the goals came.
Two of those were thanks to Lallana, who got to show off both sides of his game with them. The first was wholly down to work rate, as the creative attacker ran half the length of the pitch to close down Lukasz Fabianski. The Swansea keeper panicked and tried to clear the ball, which Lallana blocked into the goal for Liverpool’s second of the night. Lallana’s second, meanwhile, was all silky footwork and a cool head in front of goal by a truly two-footed player after Coutinho played him into space with a backheel flick.
Similar to Coutinho, on a handful of occasions Lallana did seem to try to do a little too much, either attempting to thread an overly ambitious pass or beat one more man. Most of the time, though, he did exactly what he was brought in to do, both with and without the ball, and that was to turn in a world class performance. Slick footwork, hard work, dangerous passes, and a pair of goals to show for it. It was the best performance yet for a player who has probably been Liverpool’s best so far this season.
Video by LFC Tiki Taka