Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Liverpool

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  • Liverpool have never achieved four straight-wins to start a Premier League season
  • The two sides have met 32 times, Liverpool have the edge with a 16-9-7 record
  • Swansea haven’t won any of their last six home PL games

After having to wait until Monday night to play their fourth game of the Premier League season, Liverpool have momentarily been knocked out of top spot by Arsenal.

But a win against Swansea (3pm ET, watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) will see Brendan Rodgers’ side go back to the top of the table and boast the only 100 percent record in the Premier League.

However the Reds face a tricky trip down to the Liberty Stadium to play a resurgent Swansea side who comfortably beat West Brom 2-0 away from home in their last game, as Michael Laudrup’s men recovered from two-straight defeats to start the season.

As for Liverpool, manager Rodgers will be returning to the club he got promoted to the Premier League and steered to safety before leaving the Swans for Liverpool. Despite that, Rodgers is sure to get a warm reception from the home fans in South Wales who have a lot to thank him for as Rodgers put the wheels in motion for Laudrup’s side to flourish and finish ninth and win the League Cup last season.

The last time these two sides met at Anfield last February, Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners after a rousing second half display from the Merseyside outfit. Monday’s game will be a much closer affair with both teams trying to play attractive soccer.

Injury-wise, Neil Taylor is the only player to miss out for Swansea, while Liverpool are still missing defender Kolo Toure but new signings Mamadou Sakho and Victor Moses are in the squad, while Daniel Sturridge should be fit to start.

Can Liverpool keep their sensational start to the season going against a free-flowing Swansea side?

What they’re saying

Brendan Rodgers on Liverpool’s good start to the season: “We haven’t always been at our best throughout the 90 minutes of games this season but we certainly have resilience and a way to win games. In this league, it is so tough, you need that. We’re not worried. Our perception is what we think about ourselves. Football is very much about opinion. All we try to do here is work well, work honestly and work hard.”

Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey on playing with Steven Gerrard at Liverpool: “I’ve always looked up to him, ever since I was a kid. I watched him when I was growing up and he was the one that my dad singled out. It’s just ridiculous how good he is, and in my opinion he’s the best English midfielder that this country has ever seen. I always said that I wanted to play both with him and against him by the time I finished my career – that way you can judge yourself on how good you are.”

Michael Laudrup on Sturridge missing out for England but being fit for Monday: “Everyone is talking about England needing its young players and the importance of the game. I am sure he would have played the other day in a crucial game but he didn’t as he was injured. But just 48 hours later and he is already fit to play against us. I was a little surprised about that. I thought there were some rules that if you were injured you couldn’t play for your team three or four days later.”

Prediction

This is going to be a tight game down in South Wales. The home side will be desperate to get a first win of the season in front of their own fans and get one over former manager Brendan Rodgers. But Liverpool are flying and that 1-0 win over Manchester United will have seen confidence levels soar through the roof. However, that old boy ‘Mr. Complacency’ has a knack of creeping in when things are going well. I can see an upset on the cards here. Swansea City to win this game with Michu and Wilfried Bony creating havoc.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.