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February 17, 2013
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 44832
S. Gerrard 34'
Philippe Coutinho 46'
José Enrique 50'
L. Suárez 56'
D. Sturridge 71'
Swansea will have to write that performance off as a bad day at the office. The Welsh club lacked any kind of goal threat in the absence of Michu, while their defense was penetrated with worrying ease. Marked improvement is needed for the Capital One Cup final, even against League Two opposition.
FULL-TIME! It's the perfect win for Liverpool. Five goals, a clean sheet, a full debut goal for Coutinho and a long-waited win over a side in the top half of the table. The Reds were brilliant today and fully deserved their win, while the partnership between Sturridge and Suarez looks seriously impressive.
90' + 2'
Both sides are just waiting for the final whistle to blow, with little goal-mouth action to speak of.
Johnson gets forward yet again, and is the most advanced Liverpool player. Henderson feeds the marauding full-back, who takes the ball in his stride, but Bartley makes a good challenge.
Liverpool, a man light, are just patiently retaining possession now. The tempo has been reduced to walking pace.
Borini slides into a challenge but comes off second best, with his screams of pain echoing around Anfield. It looks like he's dislocated his shoulder, and he walks straight off the pitch and down the tunnel for treatment. Liverpool are down to ten men for the remainder of the match.
Swansea come close to a consolation goal. Routledge bursts infield from the left wing and attempts an inswinging shot towards goal. Reina gets down low to make the save, and manages to parry the ball away from danger.
Borini barges his way into the box and then pulls the ball back for Johnson. The full-back takes a touch and then curls a left-footed effort towards goal, which whistles past the far post.
Enrique wins a corner which is played short to Sturridge. The forwards tricks his way into the box, but his square pass doesn't find a red shirt and Swansea clear.
Allen feeds Johnson on the edge of the box. The full-back attempts a shot which is blocked by Bartley and almost falls into the path of Borini, but the ball just evades the Italian. Swansea escape again, for now.
Downing squeezes a ball through for Suarez, and the Urugauyan wins a corner. It is his last involvement of the match as Borini comes on in his place. Suarez has been simply brilliant today. The resulting set-piece is cleared by Monk.
Yellow Card Pablo Hernández
Hernandez picks up the first yellow card of the match for a late tackle on Agger. The Spaniard is substituted seconds later.
Henderson and Downing combine and the former is able to float a cross into the box, but it is just too high for Sturridge to attack.
Liverpool send a cross into the box which Monk only clears as far as Sturridge. The 23-year-old takes a first time shot, curling the ball towards the top corner, but it skims the top of the bar and goes over.
Penalty Goal Daniel Sturridge
GOAL!! He's scored at last! Gerrard let's Sturridge take the penalty this time, and the forward curls the ball into the left side of the net. Vorm guesses the right way again, but the ball drifts over his trailing arm. Sturridge has deserved a goal today.
PENALTY! Enrique sends in a deep cross towards Suarez which is handled in the air by Routledge and the referee points to the spot.
Liverpool are full of confidence right now and Swansea look unable to live with the Reds' movement and intensity.
This is marvellous from Liverpool. Sturridge plays a one-two with Henderson, racing onto the midfielder's return pass before attempting an outrageous outside of the boot finish which Vorm does well to stop with his feet.
Johnson against bursts ahead of a Swansea player and intercepts. The full-back feeds Sturridge, who in turn plays in Suarez. Unusually, the Uruguayan's touch lets him down and Swansea are able to clear.
Johnson pounces on a loose ball and accelerates forward before attemping an ambitious chip form just inside the Swansea half. It doesn't trouble Vorm.
Downing feeds Johnson, whose low cross is cleared. Liverpool recovery possession and Sturridge is played through on goal. The forward beautifully chests the ball down and volleys an effort at goal, but Vorm makes the stop. The ball rebounds to Suarez, but Bartley heads his attempt away.
Coutinho's full debut is over, but he gave a sparkling performance brimming with promise, and capped his display with a goal. Henderson is on in his place.
Sturridge darts into the box, drags the ball back and then falls to the ground. Is that a penalty? The referee, rightly, says no. Replays show Sturridge went down far too easily.
Sturridge rolls Monk inside the box and just as he is about to get a shot away, the veteran Swansea centre-back makes a vital challenge. Michu is shaking his head on the sidelines.
Assist Stewart Downing
Goal Luis Suárez
GOAL!! It is party time at Anfield now. Downing feeds Suarez, whose first touch takes him past Monk. The Uruguayan then jinks inside of Bartley, bursts past Monk for a second time and rifles a left-footed shot into the bottom corner. A fantastic solo finish. Suarez has been unplayable today.
Suarez wins yet another corner for the home side, but Agger heads Gerrard's delivery high and wide.
Just how demoralising will this be for Swansea ahead of the Capital One Cup final? Liverpool look like they can score at will right now.
Assist Daniel Sturridge
Goal José Enrique
GOAL!! Incredible one-touch interplay sees Liverpool score a stunning goal. Sturridge finds Suarez, who feeds Enrique, who then flicks the ball to Sturridge. The forward reverses the pass back to the Spaniard, between two white shirts, and Enrique is able to power an effort into the roof of the net. A brilliant goal.
Swansea have made the worst possible start to the second half and Laudrup's half-time team talk has immediately been made redundant.
Suarez rolls Davies and fizzes in a cross with the outside of his right foot. Coutinho gets in front of his man and tries to flick the ball into the back of the net, but his attempt trickles past the far post.
Assist Luis Suárez
GOAL!! Suarez turns the ball into the path of Coutinho who has acres of space to burst into. The young Brazilian drives towards goal, takes a touch and then fires a powerful effort past a hapless Vorm. That goal came just 16 seconds after the restart.
Swansea get the second half underway.
Swansea have been very poor so far, but will Laudrup risk bringing on one of his many benched first teamers with the Capital One Cup final just days away? As things stand, Liverpool would leapfrog the Swans and move up to seventh place in the table.
Our man at Anfield is David Lynch. Here are his half-time thoughts: "Liverpool will be happy with that half's work, despite only having a converted penalty to show for their efforts. The importance of keeping things solid and getting ahead of Swansea in the table cannot be underestimated, Brendan Rodgers' side desperately need to secure a rare one-goal Anfield win."
HALF-TIME! Liverpool have dominated the match and fully deserve their lead. Suarez has been a constant menace, linking well with Sturridge, and Swansea have struggled to contain the pair or have any of the meaningful possession for which they are known.
45' + 1'
Sturridge slows down the play on the edge of the area and then bursts past Bartley. The Reds' forward goes down in a heap under the centre-back's challenge, clutching his face, but Webb sees nothing wrong with the challenge.
Swansea are awarded a debatable free-kick about 40 yards out from goal. De Guzman clips it into the box and Monk, free on the penalty spot, rises to meet the cross, but mistimes his jump and the ball ricochets off his back and is cleared.
Respite for Swansea at last. The Welsh side hold onto the ball and work an opening, but De Guzman's swivel and shot from the edge of the area trickles into the arms of Reina.
Suarez plays a wonderful through-ball for Sturridge and the forward is in on goal. He tries to dink the ball over the onrushing Vorm but Bartley is able to head clear. Seconds later Sturridge is through on goal again, but he overruns the ball and crosses straight into the arms of the Swansea shot-stopper.
Swansea are struggling to find any kind of fludity or composure on the ball. Sturridge finds Downing, and the winger darts into the box and fires at goal, but Monk manages to block the effort.
Liverpool could have doubled their lead already. Suarez's cross-cum-shot is fumbled into the path of Johnson but the full-back can't control the ball. Coutinho tries an effort from just inside the box which deflects to Gerrard who fires a shot towards goal. Swansea throw bodies in front of the ball and just about escape.
Penalty Goal Steven Gerrard
GOAL!! Gerrard, who missed a penalty against West Brom on Monday, makes no mistakes this time. He drills the ball low to the left, and though Vorm guesses the right way, there's too much venom in the shot and it nestles in the bottom corner. Liverpool take a deserved lead.
PENALTY! Gerrard's deep corner goes all the way to Suarez at the edge of the box. Agustien closes him down but bundles over the 26-year-old and referee Webb points to the spot.
Suarez pulls off to the right wing and venture into the box. His pull-back finds Gerrard who smashes an effort towards goal, but it is deflected behind for a corner.
De Guzman attempts a through-ball between Carragher and Agger for Shechter to chase, but the Danish centre-back makes a fantastic sliding challenge to snuff out the danger.
Liverpool are beginning to pile on the pressure. Gerrard squares the ball to Lucas and the Brazilian sends a low, fizzing shot towards goal which is easily saved.
Enrique sends another wonderful cross-field ball to Sturridge, but his touch lets him down. Liverpool recover possession though and Coutinho plays a delightful through-ball for Sturridge, but Vorm rushes from his line and intercepts.
Suarez and Sturridge combine well once more, and the young English striker is able to curl a shot towards the top corner which Vorm saves.
Liverpool should be 1-0 up. Suarez finds Sturridge in space with a delightful early pass. The January signing jinks into the box, skips over one challenge but then appears to be brought down by Bartley. Referee Howard Webb does not agree. The ball bounces kindly to Coutinho anyway, who drags an easy chance wide of the near post with the goal gaping.
Downing dribbles down the flank and sends in a pin-point cross with his right foot for Sturridge to attack. The England forward is a couple of yards out from goal but somehow heads over the bar. He has to hit the target there.
Hernandez breezes past Lucas down the right flank and has acres of room to run into. He reaches the by-line, but Carragher is able to clear the Spaniard's pull-back.
Bartley intercepts Gerrard's long cross-field pass, but his clearance only finds Suarez on the edge of the box. The striker takes a touch and then volleys an ambitious strike towards goal which sails harmlessly over the bar.
Suarez drives towards goal and is brought down by Tiendalli in identical fashion to Britton's foul minutes earlier. This time Suarez takes the free-kick, but sends his effort a couple of feet over the bar.
Britton brings down Suarez on the edge of the box and the referee awards a free-kick. Gerrard smashes the ball straight into the wall before Suarez fires the rebound high over Vorm's bar.
Sturridge jinks and weaves his way towards goal but his cross-cum-shot is deflected behind for a corner. Shechter clears the resulting delivery as far as Enrique, who spread the play to Suarez. The Uruguayan feeds Downing, who slices a shot well wide.
Johnson runs up the flank once more and crosses early, forcing Monk to head behind. Gerrard's subsequent corner finds Johnson 10 yards out from goal, but the full-back heads the ball wide.
Suarez prods a heavy through ball in behind the defence for the overlapping Enrique, but Vorm is rush from his line and make the save. The Dutch keeper can't hold onto the ball though, and almost gifts Suarez a chance to tap-in the rebound, but is able to gibble up the loose ball.
From the resulting set-piece, Lamah's drilled shot is blocked by Johnson, and the Swansea players claim in struck the Liverpool full-back's arm. The referee, rightly, ignores the protests.
Agger is robbed by Shechter on the edge of the box and Lamah is able to burst towards the by-line, but his pull-back is cleared for a corner by Carragher.
Lucas Leiva is punished for a late challenge on Agustien, though escapes a booking.
Liverpool win possession in Swansea's third of the pitch and Suarez is played through on goal. The Uruguayan is at an accute angle, but fires of a shot which is easily saved by Vorm.
Both sides are showing an immediate willingness to pass the ball out from the back, though Davies almost puts Britton under pressure with a heavy pass deep in his own half.
Coutinho pulls off to the left wing and bursts forward, winning his side a corner. Gerrard takes it short to the young Brazilian, who drills a shot towards goal which is deflected behind for another corner. Downing volleys the deep cross wide of the near post.
Liverpool get the match underway.
The players are on the pitch and we're just minutes away from kick-off.
No side has conceded fewer goals (five) in the opening 30 minutes of matches than Swansea, while they've never lost a match in which they have taken the lead.
Look away Liverpool fans, the Reds have not scored a league goal against Swansea since they won promotion to the Premier League, drawing twice and losing once. The Swans also picked up a 3-1 win in the Capital One Cup at Anfield earlier this season.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup evidently has one eye on Wembley and the Capital One Cup final judging by his team selection. A host of first team regulars have been rested, including topscorer Michu and captain Ashley Williams. Injury to Chico Flores means Kyle Bartley and Garry Monk start in defence.
Liverpool have made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 against Zenit St Petersburg, with Philippe Coutinho handed his full debut for the Reds, Daniel Agger picked to start ahead of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Sturridge fielded in attack after a brief lay-off through injury.
Swansea starting XI: Vorm; Tiendalli, Bartley, Monk, Davies; Britton, Agustien, De Guzman; Hernandez, Lamah, Shechter. Subs: Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Michu, Routledge, Dyer, Moore.
Liverpool starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Lucas, Gerrard, Coutinho; Downing, Sturridge, Suarez. Subs: Gulacsi, Skrtel, Henderson, Shelvey, Sterling, Allen, Borini.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live play-by-play coverage of Liverpool v Swansea! I'm Ewan Roberts and I will be guiding you through all the action from Anfield. First up, here are today’s line-ups…
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