It was a story of fives on Sunday: Liverpool hadn’t won in five games, but five scorers of five different goals put that statistic to bed.
Liverpool fielded a strong side, with Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Danny Sturridge and Glen Johnson all starting, despite the match being their third game in seven days. Midfielder Philippe Coutinho, an £8.5m signing from Inter Milan, made his Anfield debut.
In contrast, Swansea fielded a weakened team, which was probably their downfall, with top scorer Michu left on the beach, along with Angel Rangel, Wayne Routledge, Ashley Williams and Nathan Dyer - clearly Michael Laudrup had one eye on the Capital One Cup final against Bradford next Sunday.
With Liverpool failing to score in any of the previous three meetings with Swansea, and with Swansea’s regular goalscorers on the bench, this looked destined for a bore draw, and the first goal didn’t arrive for 33 minutes, and when it did, it was in the form of a penalty.
Liverpool had missed several chances earlier in the game, through Sturridge and Coutinho. But when Howard Webb pointed to the spot after Kemy Agustein’s trip on Suarez in the penalty area, Gerrard stepped up (despite missing a penalty against West Brom) and beat Michel Vorm to make it 1-0.
The Swans went into the break 1-0 down, but defensive frailties were evident as Liverpool scored three in the space of just 11 minutes. Coutinho was released by Suarez just a minute after half-time, beating two defenders and slotting beyond helpless Vorm.
Liverpool then showed echoes of Swansea City’s passing game themselves, as Sturridge, Suarez and Jose Enrique combined down the wing - Enrique the man to finish off the move by smashing the ball into the roof of the net. Suarez showed skill typical of his style for the fourth, on 56 minutes, beating two defenders and striking into Swansea’s net.
Substitute Routledge conceded a penalty for the final goal with 20 minutes remaining, deemed to have handled the ball inside the area. Gerrard let Sturridge take the spot-kick, and he made no mistake in converting, to complete the drubbing.
But the positive mood around Anfield was quashed when Fabio Borini, a 78th minute substitute, landed badly and dislocated his shoulder. Liverpool were forced to finish the match with 10 men, and Borini will be out for the rest of the season, leaving Liverpool stripped to the bare bones once more.
The result means the Reds leap-frogged Swansea in the table, climbing to seventh place in their bid to remain in a European competition come next season.
It was a much-needed win for Liverpool, and many fans will be questioning why they haven’t been able to create such dominating football the rest of the season with a group of players that clearly has a lot of potential.
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