Just 90 seconds into the game, Shelvey scored against his former team, putting home his own rebound after an initial sliding block from Martin Škrtel. If that was the best start Shelvey could have hoped for, he was brought back to earth less than two minutes later.
After his team won the ball in its defensive half, Shelvey attempted a backpass with the outside of his right foot that inadvertently split his center backs. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, in an offside position from the previous attack, pounced on the ball.
He was not flagged offside, as an opponent passed him the ball. (It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position.) Sturridge needed just one touch to level the score in the fourth minute and leave Shelvey to walk back to midfield with his head in his hands.
Perhaps he had not completely mentally recovered when he made another goal-inducing error.
With his team in calm possession and looking to break out, Shelvey misplayed a wide pass that Liverpool winger Victor Moses easily cut out. Moses dribbled toward goal, cut inside and slammed a shot on the ground inside the near post in the 36th minute.
Swansea nearly equalized two minutes later, but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet barely saved Nathan Dyer’s original back-post effort, and Škrtel slid in to rob Wilfried Bony of an easy tap-in from inside the six-yard box.
The second half started in a flurry of yellow cards, including one on a tackle by Swansea defender Ashley Williams that sent Philippe Coutinho to the bench with an apparent shoulder injury. Moments later, Mignolet came off his line to punch a cross that left Bony on the ground.
Bony left the game soon after, although it was unclear whether it had anything to do with Mignolet’s intervention.
Mignolet could not keep Swansea out for long. Leon Britton lofted a ball forward in the 64th minute that found Shelvey just outside the penalty area.
Leaping with his back to goal, Shelvey swiveled to flick a ball into Michu’s path as he streaked toward goal. Finding space between two converging defenders, Michu calmly struck the ball on his first touch beyond Mignolet and into the back of the net.
Substitute Jonathan de Guzman nearly won it for Swansea in the 88th minute, but Mignolet continued his good early-season form and stretched to his left to tip the free kick around the post. On the ensuing corner kick, Mignolet punched twice, clearing the original cross and the secondary attempt.
Swansea looked more likely to score as the match wound down, with Liverpool happy to absorb pressure and earn a point to take it back to the top of the Premier League. Try as it might, Swansea could not penetrate Liverpool’s back line again, as the defenders held strong.
But the final whistle blew as Liverpool hit on the counter-attack, with Iago Aspas nearly scoring a winner at the death. Chico Flores slid in to clear the danger, and referee Michael Oliver suitably ended the game on a close chance to cap a 90-minute period full of opportunities.
Liverpool (3-1-0, 10 points, first place) returns home on Saturday to take on Southampton. Swansea City (1-1-2, 4 points, 13th place) heads to London on Sunday to play Crystal Palace but must first travel to Spain on Thursday to face Valencia in the UEFA Europa League.
Swansea City: Michel Vorm — Àngel Rangel, Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Ben Davies — Leon Britton, Jonjo Shelvey, Michu — Nathan Dyer (Jonathan de Guzman, 46), Wilfried Bony (Alejandro Pozuelo, 66), Wayne Routledge
Unused substitutes: Gerhard Tremmel — Jordi Amat, Dwight Tiendalli, José Cañas, Álvaro Vázquez
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet — Andre Wisdom (Kolo Touré, 69), Martin Škrtel, Mamadou Sakho, José Enrique — Lucas, Steven Gerrard — Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho (Iago Aspas, 55), Victor Moses (Raheem Sterling, 81) — Daniel Sturridge
Unused substitutes: Brad Jones — Luis Alberto, Jordon Ibe, Martin Kelly