- Liverpool still believe in a top-four finish
- Swansea fifth in PL points at home, 15th away
- Swans last beat Reds in October 2012
It’s Liverpool and Swansea City facing off in the final Premier League game of the 2014 calendar year on Monday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra, 2 pm ET), with three valuable points toward each side’s European ambitions on the line.
Liverpool, still on the rebound from a tough start to the 2014-15 season, haven’t lost to Swansea in the two teams’ last five meetings, including a 2-1 home victory in the Capital One Cup back in October. Swansea, on the other hand, have won just one league game away from home (Dec. 20, vs. Aston Villa) since winning at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season.
With a victory, Liverpool (currently 10th) could go as high as eighth in the Premier League. The Swans (currently 8th) could push as high as sixth in the league with three points at Anfield, provided they win by four goals or more.
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Liverpool will be without goalkeeper Brad Jones, who injured himself in Thursday’s victory over Burnley, meaning Simon Mignolet returns to the starting 11 after being “indefinitely dropped” less than two weeks ago. Defenders Dejan Lovern, Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan will all miss the game through injuries, leaving the Liverpool backline thin and on weary legs.
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Swansea winger Jefferson Montero will be unavailable due to a hamstring injury suffered in Thursday’s win over Aston Villa. Manager Garry Monk is reportedly planning to rotate his squad at Anfield, possibly handing starts to the likes of Wayne Routledge, Bafetimbi Gomis and Tom Carroll.
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What they’re saying
Rodgers confident improved second half — “We’re now seven points behind [a top-four finish]. We’ll just take each game as it comes. We know we will be much better in the second part of the season than the first. If we keep this momentum going and keep the focus, then we can have a really good second half to the season.”
Monk: We’ll head to Anfield in confident mood —
“Liverpool have had a difficult start to the season, but Brendan has made changes and they’re becoming a very good team again. … He’s been through a difficult period, but now he’s producing good results and the team are playing a lot better. It will be a difficult game, but Anfield is a great place to play football. We have to take belief there. We should go into the game with confidence.”
If there’s one thing that causes problems for this Liverpool side, it’s teams capable of retaining possession and continuously asking questions of their deeper-lying midfielders and suspect defenders. Swansea can do that against any Premier League team, and they’re probably a fair bet to pick up an away point in this one.