One of the most high-profile manager moves this summer was when Brendan Rodgers took the vacant Liverpool job, leaving Swansea, to replace sacked legend Kenny Dalglish. The game at the weekend will be the first time Rodgers returns to Swanseas Liberty Stadium, and it should definitely be an interesting encounter, especially as both teams strive to play good football and since ex-Barcelona ‘Dream Team’ star Michael Laudrup arrived at the Liberty, this hasn’t changed at all.
Swansea had quite a busy summer, as they saw two of their best players from last season depart to bigger clubs, as Joe Allen was reunited with Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and Scott Sinclair moved to Manchester City, however, they haven’t been missed too much, thanks to Laudrups shrewd signings, who have hit the ground running. His best buy so far has been Michu, bought for roughly two million pounds from Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano. He finished last season with fifteen goals, and his goalscoring form has carried through to England, scoring seven goals in his first twelve games, and has already looked more than worth the fee paid for him. Whilst loan signing Jonathan De Guzman has been The Swans’ main creative outlet this season, with nineteen key passes and the second most assists for Swansea, with three. He’s really added something different to the midfield, and with a couple of new additions, has managed to fill the void that Joe Allen left. Finally, it’s an old face that has gained a lot of plaudits this year, as well. After a good season last season, Nathan Dyer has started this season even better, with pace, skill and a bit more of an end product than a lot of wingers, he’s a nightmare for most full-backs. He has given a great return at the start of this season, with three goals and two assists in seven starts, and will definitely be looking to run at Jose Enrique when these sides clash.
Liverpool are in transition, after newly appointed Brendan Rodgers has changed the model of the club, on and off the pitch, encouraging an entertaining passing game, whilst bringing through youngsters from the clubs highly-thought of academy. Liverpool have had a mixed start of the season, but have started to pick up form as of late, and things seem to be clicking into place. A big factor in the turnaround of form is the form of Uruguayan international Luis Suarez, who has answered the critics who say he ‘doesn’t score enough’ or ‘he can’t finish’ by scoring ten goals in twelve games. However, he still isn’t all about goals, as he offers lots to the team as a whole, assisting two and contributing thirty-five key passes, he seems to have become the clinical kind of player Liverpool wanted when they signed him – Liverpool just have to make sure they don’t become too reliant on him, as he is the only player in scoring form, but it’s important to remember Fabio Borini is out injured. Another huge player for Liverpool is Joe Allen, who has received criticism from ‘Match of the Day’ pundit Alan Shearer, which is all completely undeserved. He was accused of playing the easy pass, or not going forwards enough and only going sideways because it looks good on the eye – but the reality is that he serves an important job for the side. He sits infront of the defence and offers solidity, and his sideways passes spread the play, in order to try and create space, whilst retaining possession. For a twenty-two-year-old player, he has lots of maturity and really values possession, which can be seen as he averages sixty-nine passes per game, with a ninety-two per cent completion, one of the best in the Premier League. These two players are crucial to how Liverpool play and will both need to be on form if they want to take maximum points from the game at the Liberty.
This is a really tough game to call, both have had slumps, but seem to be finding their feet as of late. I think the most likely result is a draw, with both sides trying to control the possession, and a defensive error almost inevitable with the errors these two sides have made. I think it’ll be an entertaining game for the neutrals, and a high-scoring game, my personal prediction is 2-2.