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.

CCL: Toronto wins; Wild Herediano comeback

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On a single-digit Tuesday that severely limited the attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC dueled in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Jonathan Osorio’s second half goal put the Reds in front and Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist and the visitors take a 2-0 decision back to Ontario.

The best chance of a preseason quality first half saw Dominique Badji flub the best chance of the stage into the feet of Alex Bono.

Toronto took the lead, nabbing the away goal through Osorio’s header of a Sebastian Giovinco cross. And the Atomic Ant got on the board with a goal of his own off an Auro assist with 17 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Georgia teen heading to Schalke ]

Tuesday’s other first leg saw Herediano and Tigres play to a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, with the Liga MX visitors taking a pair of away goals but shocked by a pair of stoppage time concessions.

Francisco Meza scored in the 15th minute and Lucas Zelarayan seemingly put it to bed with 15 minutes to play.

But Yendrick Ruiz converted a 90th minute penalty kick before ex-DC United forward Jairo Arrieta did this ahead of the Feb. 22 second leg in Mexico.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”