Liverpool’s surge up the Premier League table and quest for Champions League qualification continued its fierce upward swing on Monday, as the Reds beat Swansea City, 1-0, at the Liberty Stadium.
Jordan Henderson (kind of) scored the game’s only goal, as Liverpool (54 points) move to within two points of fourth-placed Manchester United (56) and the fourth and final Champions League place.
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With Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers facing his former club, a side which still holds onto a number of the Northern Irishman’s philosophical ideas, both sides struggled to create chances in the game’s opening 45 minutes, as each was content to control the game through possession and move the ball around the middle third of the field so well.
Philippe Coutinho saw the second half’s first real chance turned away by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski after Raheem Sterling got to the endline and cut the ball back for the Brazilian inside the penalty area.
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Liverpool, so desperately needing three points, up the pressure and numbers thrown forward as the second half wore on, and were finally rewarded for their endeavors, as Swansea defender Jordi Amat attempted to clear the ball from just outside his own penalty area, but his sliding challenge ricocheted off the leg of the onrushing Henderson and looped over the head of Fabianski, finding the back of the net.
Daniel Sturridge nearly gave Liverpool a second and game-sealing goal with seconds to play in stoppage time, but his far-post shot clanged off the post after Coutinho picked out the Englishman through the center of the field.
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With third- and fourth-placed Arsenal and Manchester United victorious over the weekend, nothing short of all three points against Swansea would have done Liverpool any good. With the victory on Monday, the Reds haven’t lost a league game since mid-December (13 games unbeaten).
Up next for Liverpool, it’s Manchester United (their last league defeat) at Anfield and away to Arsenal in back-to-back games. If they finish third our fourth, they’ll have earned it over the next two weeks.
Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Amat, Williams, Taylor, Sung-yueng (Dyer 80′), Shelvey, Sigurdsson (Emnes 89′), Gomis, Routledge (Montero 73′)
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Allen, Henderson, Lallana (Johnson 88′), Moreno (Gerrard 64′), Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge
Goals: Henderson (68′)