Swansea vs Liverpool: Preview, team news, and score prediction
Swansea City host Liverpool tonight in what will be last match of this Premier League weekend. The Welsh club are still on a difficult campaign to avoid relegation, as they find themselves rock-bottom, six points adrift of a place of safety, and will be looking to add to the hope that new manager Carlos Carvalhal has bought to the side ever since his appointment.
The former Sheffield Wednesday manager has led the Swans to four points in their last three league matches, while progress in the FA Cup has only added to the cloud of optimism that hangs over the Liberty Stadium. Victory over Liverpool on Monday night will most definitely sustain it for the rest of the season.
Easier said than done, however, as the visitors have won all four of their last league games - a run that was started by a 5-0 victory over Swansea at Anfield on Boxing Day.
The Reds are flying high after their resounding 4-3 win over Manchester City last week and are under pressure to continue their fine form, with all their top six rivals, barring Tottenham Hotspur winning over the weekend.
Liverpool will also be backed by terrific form away from home recently. The Merseysiders have scored 17 goals in their last five away games, conceding just five and victory in South Wales by a margin of more than three goals will see them retain the third place on the table.
Virgil van Dijk is in line to make his official league debut for Liverpool, having been delayed by a hamstring injury last week ahead of his side's game against Manchester City. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Loris Karius is set to retain his place ahead of Simon Mignolet in the starting line-up, as confirmed by manager Jürgen Klopp.
Reds' Captain Jordan Henderson and full-back Alberto Moreno have recovered from their respective hamstring and ankle injuries and could play some part, should Klopp require back-up tonight.
On the other hand, Swansea have been boosted by the return of striker Wilfried Bony from a hamstring injury and the Ivorian will be an important addition, especially since fellow forward Tammy Abraham is to remain sidelined with a hip injury. Midfielder Renato Sanches and defender Mike van der Hoorn are also both expected to be match fit.
This is likely to be a tricky old affair for Liverpool. Reds' fans can be forgiven for feeling a little pessimistic ahead of tonight, as their side have sometimes made a habit of following their most exciting performances with their most disappointing ones.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is expected to field a strong line-up, as his squad have had the luxury of a full week off and the German will be backing his side to get what will be a vital win that will see them increase the gap between them and fifth-placed Spurs to 5 points.
For all their attacking capabilities, Swansea will rightly take a more defensive approach towards this encounter, as frustrating Liverpool in the hopes of earning a point or even more than that should be their main focus.
Either way, the Reds should have too much for their Welsh opponents, just as they did in the reverse fixture.
Fulltime prediction: Swansea City 1-4 Liverpool