01172018

Firmino scores twice as Liverpool thrash Swansea

Roberto Firmino scores for Liverpool against Swansea

Roberto Firmino has been directly involved in more goals under Jurgen Klopp than any other Liverpool player

Liverpool consolidated their place in the Premier League’s top four with a dominant home victory over managerless bottom side Swansea.

Philippe Coutinho’s sublime long-range finish – curled into the top corner after Mohamed Salah’s pass – opened the scoring in the sixth minute.

The away side responded well and dominated possession for spells in the first half but Roberto Firmino should have doubled the lead when he dragged wide just before the break.

Instead, the Brazil international put his side two goals up six minutes after half-time, firing home from Coutinho’s lofted free-kick.

Nineteen-year-old full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold added a third with his first Premier League goal for the club, chasing down a loose clearance and smashing in off the bar from inside the box.

Just two minutes later, Swansea self-destructed further as Salah pounced on a misplaced pass before cutting back to Firmino to tap home – then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the rout by planting the ball in the net after another poor clearance.

The result means Jurgen Klopp’s side reclaim fourth spot from Tottenham and restore their one-point advantage over the north London side, who briefly moved above them with a 5-2 win over Southampton in Boxing Day’s 12:30 GMT kick-off.

Swansea stay bottom of the table, five points from the safety of West Ham’s 17th place.

Attack v Defence

After Friday’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Arsenal, in which the Reds conceded three times in five minutes, Klopp rejected claims his side do not focus enough on defence.

The Liverpool backline was not given its greatest test at Anfield on Tuesday – Swansea’s best football was played in the transition from defence to attack without actually threatening – but nor were there many instances of sloppiness or lapses in concentration.

Indeed, Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet pulled off a great fingertip save to deny Tammy Abraham with the last touch of the game.

Down the other end, there was much, much more of the rich and flowing offensive play that has typified the other side to the story of Liverpool’s season so far.

Salah, Firmino and Coutinho interchanged at will and Swansea found their close control and trickery in the box impossible to deal with. The only problem for Liverpool was it perhaps took slightly longer than it should have done for them to reach their ruthless best.

Salah, who went into this game having scored 15 goals in his previous 15 matches, was guilty of wasting several good chances before Alexander-Arnold really did open the floodgates with a third goal that left the visitors backtracking and beaten for the rest of the match.

Firmino was withdrawn in the 68th minute – denied the chance of a likely hat-trick – and his replacement Dominic Solanke might have had a treble of his own, flashing his most impressive effort just wide of the post on the volley.

However, the fact the England Under-20 World Cup winner failed to score his first Liverpool goal was the biggest of small problems for Klopp, who embraced the young forward with an ironic grin as they made their way off the pitch.

The nightmare after Christmas

It was always going to be a daunting task for Swansea.

This was a trip to the one of the league’s top-scoring sides and their second of four matches in 10 days. The Welsh club with just three wins all season had the odds firmly stacked up in opposition.

But until Alexander-Arnold’s goal – crafted from sheer desire to beat his man to the ball and profit – the Swans were actually still in it.

Roque Mesa, Tom Carroll and Leroy Fer had impressed with some attractive interplay, Wayne Routledge was a threat on the wing and in the first half they were averaging about 14% more possession than Anfield’s other visitors this season.

However, when Fer played the ball back to his defence without looking and found Salah instead, the game really was up. Firmino added the easy fourth, before slack defending from forward Jordan Ayew allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain a second chance to make it five.

Even if his influence and potential candidacy will not be judged on this result alone, temporary player-manager Leon Britton will surely be very disappointed his side folded like they did.

Analysis

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin on BBC Radio 5 live

Liverpool again played pretty well in the first half. Swansea worked hard but Liverpool stepped up in the second half and were fabulous going forward. They were sparkling in the final third when they were attacking and could have had more goals.

It sums it up for Swansea that they had one chance and it was with the last touch of the game. Nothing went right for Swansea and they are in big, big trouble.

This Swansea team are not going to stay up unless they acquire players in January. Liverpool, on the other hand, look like they can score against anyone.

Man of the match – Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Jurgen Klopp and Roberto Firmino<!–

All he needed was 68 minutes. Firmino has now been directly involved in 39 goals and 25 assists for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp – more than any other player.

‘A joy to watch’ – what the managers said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on BBC Radio 5 live: “After 55 minutes it was brilliant, before that it was work. It was not easy. The last half an hour was fantastic, a joy to watch. A very deserved win.

“I know that people are often not patient enough as it’s all about results. It’s possible from outside to think it’s not quick enough, we feel really good in this moment. Five minutes in the Arsenal game was not good – but the performance was good. We drew. For tonight, we feel really good.”

Swansea caretaker boss Leon Britton on BBC Radio 5 live: “After we conceded the second goal we made so many mistakes, it’s unacceptable. It’s difficult when the game is going like that, but you have to face up to it and take responsibility.

“When I see that second-half performance it hurts an awful lot. It’s difficult seeing it after being at the club for so long. After the second goal the heads went down. But you are still professional, you have to keep going, you have to give everything you’ve got.”

On any update on the next manager: “I’ve heard nothing, I’ve got no update. It’s just me until I’m told anything different.”

Liverpool’s high fives – the stats

  • Of teams in the Europe’s big five leagues – England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – only Paris St-Germain (89) and Manchester City (77) have scored more goals this season than Liverpool (75).
  • Only Manchester City in 1995-96 and Derby in 2007-08 scored fewer goals in their first 20 games of a Premier League campaign (10 each) than Swansea have this term (11).
  • This is the fourth time this season that Liverpool have scored five goals or more in a match – and no Premier League team has hit the five-goal mark more often than the Reds in 2017-18 (also four times for Manchester City).
  • Coutinho has scored 19 Premier League goals from outside the box – one more than Robbie Fowler and second only to Steven Gerrard (33) among Liverpool players.
  • Salah has been directly involved in 20 goals in his 20 Premier League games this season (15 goals, five assists) – more than any other player.

What’s next?

Liverpool’s next match is at home to Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday (15:00 GMT kick-off).

Swansea next play away to Watford at the same time.

Live Text

Match ends, Liverpool 5, Swansea City 0.

Second Half ends, Liverpool 5, Swansea City 0.

Attempt saved. Tammy Abraham (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Wayne Routledge.

Offside, Liverpool. Trent Alexander-Arnold tries a through ball, but Georginio Wijnaldum is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Adam Lallana (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Kyle Naughton (Swansea City).

Attempt missed. Adam Lallana (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Dominic Solanke with a headed pass.

Attempt missed. Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho.

Attempt saved. Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Martin Olsson.

Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a headed pass.

Attempt missed. Alfie Mawson (Swansea City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Tom Carroll with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Goal! Liverpool 5, Swansea City 0. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner.

Attempt blocked. Adam Lallana (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Substitution, Swansea City. Renato Sanches replaces Leroy Fer.

Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Ragnar Klavan.

Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Andrew Robertson.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Jordan Ayew.

Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool).

Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Tom Carroll (Swansea City).

Substitution, Liverpool. Adam Lallana replaces Mohamed Salah.

Substitution, Liverpool. Dominic Solanke replaces Roberto Firmino.

Goal! Liverpool 4, Swansea City 0. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.

Substitution, Swansea City. Sam Clucas replaces Roque Mesa.

Goal! Liverpool 3, Swansea City 0. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.

Substitution, Swansea City. Tammy Abraham replaces Oliver McBurnie.

Offside, Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho tries a through ball, but Roberto Firmino is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Leroy Fer (Swansea City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Wayne Routledge with a cross.

Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrew Robertson with a through ball.

Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho following a set piece situation.

Martin Olsson (Swansea City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Martin Olsson (Swansea City).

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