Saturday 20th January 2017- 12:30-Sky Sports 1HD
The weekend’s coverage of football begins with title challenging Liverpool, taking on bottom of the table Swansea. The remaining four months of the season are going to be crucial for both Liverpool and Swansea, for very different reasons. Whist Jurgen Klopp’s men are searching for a first ever Premier League title, the Swans are desperately fighting relegation.
Liverpool’s tilt towards the title has stuttered in recent weeks, with 2 draws in a row against Sunderland and fierce rivals Manchester United, last weekend. In fact in their last 6 games, Liverpool have only won 2. They were lucky to leave Old Trafford last week with just a point, despite taking the lead; they had to stand steadfast as United to continue to hammer at the Liverpool defence. However James Milner’s penalty, maintained his incredible record of never having lost a Premier League game when he has scored. He was also on the score sheet when the two teams met back in October, as Liverpool won 2-1.
The good news for Klopp is the return of Phillippe Coutinho. It is no coincidence that Liverpool’s slump has coincided with the loss of the talisman. Coutinho has been impressive in the short cameos he has produced in the last three games, and he provided the cross that Lucas Leiva scored from to beat Plymouth Argyle.
The playmaker is essential to Liverpool’s flow and should he get the gears rolling again it will send a message to title rivals that the Reds still have plenty left in them. It will be Coutinho’s first start at Anfield since they saw him limp off against Sunderland in November. Klopp will most likely look to employ a front 3 of Coutinho, Adam Lallana, and Firmino as a false number 9.
In other team news for Liverpool, Sadio Mane remains at the African Cup of Nations. Nathaniel Clyne should return to the line up, having missed the Man United game with a rib injury. There is also the issue with Joel Matip, with FIFA refusing to grant clearance for him to play.
Swansea have an atrocious record at Anfield, and have only won once in their entire history, from 21 games played. Swansea find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, with the worse defence in the league, playing the team who has scored the most goals in the league. In order to retain their Premier League status, the Swans have opted for their third manager of the season, in Paul Clement. He left no illusions as to how hard the task would be, as his team were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal last weekend.
Lamentably for Clement, was the fact that until Arsenal scored their first goal, the Swans had made it quite difficult for Arsenal. However, they simply collapsed following the goal. The good news for Clement, is that it is so tight at the bottom of the league, only 1 point separates 17th and 20th, so a positive result at Anfield, can lift them up the league.
In order to maintain Swansea’s status in the Premier League, Clement has been busy bringing in additions to the squad. After completing the deal to sign Luciano Narsingh, another two names have come in alongside him. Former loanee Tom Carroll, has signed after taking part in just three games for Spurs this season. The Swedish defender Martin Olsson has also been announced as a new signing. His physical and tactical strengths will be vital for Swansea’s defense.
With all the three new signings expected to be in the squad for the weekend, the expectations will high and it will be interesting to see what impact they have. There is no time to adapt, as every point will be crucial for Swansea City until the end of the season.
In team, news for Swansea Neil Taylor is expected to be back at the beginning of February as he continues to recover from his fractured cheekbone. Jefferson Montero is still unavailable due to hamstring injury.
Next Bet Wins TV Accumulator
If you fancy a 5 fold accumulator across this weekends televised games, our friends at Nexbetwins.co.uk have come up with a little something. Remember these prices come from Bet365
Liverpool to win match handicap -1 (4/7)
Man City v Tottenham BTTS (13/20)
Southampton v Leicester over 1.5 goals (4/11)
Arsenal to win match handicap -1 (1/2)
Chelsea to win match handicap -1 (4/9)
All adding up to just under 8/1. Certainly worth a punt.
By Rich Lee @RichLee2202