Premier League

5 Things We Learned From Liverpool 5-0 Swansea

 • by Andrew Gibney
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Liverpool dispatched Swansea City 5-0 on Boxing Day, seeing them give the home fans another Christmas present and remain in the Premier League top four.

It was a quiet first half except from Philippe Coutinho’s wonderful shot which found the top corner.

In the second, Coutinho turned provider to Roberto Firmino to make it two, then the floodgates opened: Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added to Swansea’s misery.

Coutinho Works Better Up Top

Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City

Coutinho was excellent on Tuesday for Liverpool. Despite a slow start, his sixth-minute strike was wonderful and gave the home side breathing space. His set-piece for Firmino was also exquisite.

Sadio Mané was dropped out of the starting XI and Coutinho thrived in the attacking role.

When he plays in the midfield three, due to his drifting nature and elusiveness, the Brazilian can leave Liverpool outnumbered in the middle of the park. He’ll still create and add a positive contribution, but the downside can sometimes outweigh the positives, as we saw at the Emirates.

On Tuesday he finished with four shots, five key passes, completed five dribbles and made 41 passes.

Given the captain’s armband, Coutinho’s movement and vision was outstanding against Swansea and it’s that element he adds in the final third which makes him so dangerous.

Even with Jordan Henderson out, it’s almost a waste to play Coutinho further back. Once the defence and midfield are playing tighter, the 25-year-old will have more space and time to create havoc this season.

What Oxlade-Chamerlain Adds To The Midfield

After the game, the English midfielder was disappointed in his performance. What he showed through the game was drive, energy, and a relentlessness that continued to pressure the Swansea team.

In terms of on the ball contributions, he had three shots, just one on target, and no key passes. He mentioned getting himself in certain positions and no delivering, and it’s easy to see from those numbers what he meant.

In 149 Premier League games, he added just his 11th goal against Swansea. It’s not a superb return for an attacking player and Liverpool will want to see that number doubled sooner rather than later and he should get those opportunities under Klopp.

First all of, he has to give 100 per cent, and we saw that on Tuesday. He did the hard-work and got his rewards. Ox needs to take small steps before he will be able to run.

German Showing What He Can Do

Injury to Jordan Henderson forced Klopp into changes for their Boxing Day fixture. Swansea are not in the same category as Arsenal in terms of opponents, but Emre Can still looked excellent in the central midfield role.

It helped the Reds more with Coutinho in the attack trio and the German having Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain either side.

Calm and composed on the ball, he anchored the side perfectly and added an attacking impetus when space opened up.

No one in the Liverpool team won as many tackles as Can, plus, he didn’t cause a single foul.

With 71 passes, he led the midfield and completed 91.6 per cent. The 23-year-old is showing he can be the metronome of this Liverpool team.

Swansea treading water

Premier League survival looks bleak for the Welsh side this season. Five points off West Ham United in 17th, it feels as if the gap is only going to grow.

Defensively, the Swans look a mess. There is no organisation, no leadership, and a lack of concentration.

Over pressure for most of the game, statistically you would know it. Alfie Mawson and Federico Fernández combined for eight clearances and just five interceptions. Over at Old Trafford on Tuesday, Ben Mee made 11 clearances on his own.

Positionally, Swansea were poor and Liverpool reaped the benefits.

A trip to Anfield wouldn’t have been where they would have marked to win points at the straight of the campaign, but with three of their next five fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal, they are going to struggle to build some momentum if they continue to play like they have at Anfield on Boxing Day.

Blessed with quality right-backs

Trent Alex Arnold of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City

Nathaniel Clyne’s form last season was a positive element of Klopp’s team. His injury caused a doubt over how Liverpool would cope, but in Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Reds have two excellent options in this role.

The 19-year-old got the nod on Tuesday and was excellent throughout. A constant menace down the flanks, he added the icing on the cake, finishing superbly with his right-foot to make it 4-0 to the home side.

Although he is thought to be better defensively, he ended the game winning four tackles, two interceptions and made one clearance.

The defender made a team-high 12 long balls and whipped in six crosses, twice as many as Andrew Robertson. Clyne is going to have a fight on his hands to win his place back.

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