Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is attempting to keep his squad’s feet planted firmly on the ground after the club began the season with three-straight Premier League wins. Rodgers is keen for that perfect record to be extended at his former club Swansea City on Monday, and he believes that continued focus is the key to further improvement going forward.
“We have to be vigilant going forward. It has been a good start but we can be better," he said, according to Liverpool’s official website. "We just need to keep getting results. We need to keep the feel-good factor going and you do that by winning games.
"We have shown in all three of our games at some stage the qualities we want. The quality of our football has been good and that commitment and desire to win games and our resilience has been there."
The increased fortitude of his squad has been seen in three 1-0 wins, all of which were not without difficulties. On each occasion, Daniel Sturridge was the difference maker with the only goal, and it is therefore a huge boost that the striker has been passed fit after missing out on England’s two recent World Cup qualifiers with a thigh injury. Kolo Toure and Joe Allen could also be back in contention, but Glen Johnson and Aly Cissokho are ruled out.
The match in South Wales will be the first chance for Liverpool’s trio of deadline-day signings to see action for their new club. Yet, central defenders Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilroi as well as loan arrival from Chelsea Victor Moses may have to bide their time before earning a place in a what has been a winning team.
After two defeats to begin their Premier League season, Swansea got a welcome first win at West Brom two weeks ago. Having qualified for the Europa League, which has involved already playing four games in the competition, last season’s League cup winners are faced with a hectic fixture list. But manager Michael Laudrup has stated that the league is top of the club’s agenda.
“The Premier League is our priority,” he said, reports Swansea’s official website. “I use the words ‘daily bread’ because it’s here that we have to survive and then do well. The domestic cups are something extra, and the Europa League, this year for us, is a great bonus. But at this moment, the Premier League is absolutely our priority.”
Laudrup has attempted to build a squad capable of coping with the club’s increased demands this season. One of the players to have been brought in is Jonjo Shelvey, who is likely to play against his former club for the first time on Monday.
D: Rangel, Chico, Williams. Davies
M: Canas, Shelvey
Hernandez, Michu, Routledge
D: Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
M: Lucas, Gerrard
Aspas, Henderson, Coutinho
Prediction: Liverpool have made strong starts to each of their first three games, with the linkup play between Iago Aspas, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge a joy to behold on occasions. Long term, it seems likely that Moses will replace Henderson and allow Coutinho to be even more influential moving into the middle. After going in front, Liverpool have also displayed a resilience, both physical and mental, that they didn’t possess last season. While perhaps not right away, Sakho should come into the back four and improve the defense, although Toure had begun his Liverpool career well before injury and Martin Skrtel was impressive against Manchester United.
The key decision for Laudrup will be whether to reinforce his midfield to tackle Liverpool and have Michu as the lone front-man. If he is more positive and has the Spaniard playing in a more natural support role for big summer signing Wilfried Bony, then Swansea could give Liverpool some problems. However, the visitors should just have enough to maintain their winning start to the campaign.
Swansea 1-2 Liverpool
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick-off from the Liberty Stadium at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.