Liverpool continued their push for a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 1-0 win against Swansea City on Monday night, in a gritty display at the Liberty Stadium.
The first-half left travelling Kopites frustrated as the Reds gave the ball away needlessly throughout, leaving goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to produce fine saves from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bafatimbi Gomis to keep the score at a deadlock.
After the break, Brendan Rodgers changed Liverpool's tactics and as a result his side have plenty more of the ball. However, after a number of failed half-chances, fortune favoured the away side when Jordi Amat's clearance deflected against Jordan Henderson that luckily lobbed Lucasz Fabianski into the back of the net.
Sunday is massive for resurgent Reds
The Merseyside club remain in fifth place however trail fourth place Manchester United by just two points heading into their vital game when the pair meet on Sunday.
Throughout the battling win, there were several things we learned...
Emre Can Has A Lot To Learn
Since making his name at centre-back before the turn of the New Year, there has been plenty of talk surrounding Emre Can.
He has performed outstandingly in previous games, justifying the £10 million paid for the German from Bayer Leverkusen last summer. There has even been talk that Can could be the next Liverpool captain following Steven Gerrard's departure opposed to Henderson after putting in leader-like efforts.
However, a performance of mixed reviews during his side's 0-0 draw with Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup was followed by another in South Wales.
Can showed his potential in patches but also highlighted he is not the complete article.
From the word go, he struggled to time his tackles and was beaten far too often. In the early stages, he dived into a tackle however Gomis easily knocked it around the 21-year-old but luckily Joe Allen made a last ditch challenge to dispossess the Frenchman.
Minutes later, Gomis was the menace once again When in a position of relative safety, Can once again lunged into the tackle and the Swans striker repeated his former action and followed with an effort that produced a fine save from Mignolet.
Can is still a youngster however the hype around him has not helped. Instead, Kopites need to allow him to develop through time and not pile on the pressure fom him to constantly produce heroics.
Lallana is wasted out wide
When the Liverpool line-up was announced, most expected that Raheem Sterling would start on the right-wing and Lallana would take his usual role alongside Philippe Coutinho behind the striker.
This was not the case and instead the former Southampton man started out wide and it set a poor tempo for the Reds.
Lallana is not the quickest of players and relies on his fast feet and ball skills to cause problems for the opposition.
Swansea set-up playing a fairly high defensive line that could have been exposed through pace out wide. Sterling would have been perfect for this role however Lallana could not make the impact in this role.
The 26-year-old was forced to play backwards most of the time and on occasions lost the ball.
Rodgers recognised it wasn't working and rightly switched Sterling to the touchline and Lallana began to creep into the game. He had a decent chance in the first-half and continued to be neat and tidy until the final whistle.
Rodgers not being stubborn is a big plus
Based on Liverpool's first-half performance, everyone could see it was not working.
Swansea were countering and outnumbering the Reds in the midfield, swamping Henderson and Allen who could not get the ball up to Daniel Sturridge and co.
After the break, Rodgers too recognised things weren't going to plan and instead of being stubborn, he changed the system.
Steven Gerrard made his return to the side after a month on the side-lines and settled into a deep role in the midfield. This allowed him to counter Sigurdsson's role and the Liverpool skipper won the ball back for his side on multiple occasions.
The added protection to the back-four also allowed Sterling and Lallana to push on with more freedom and the Reds had several chances, the best falling to Coutinho who's effort was tipped around the post following a well worked move.
Top-Four finish won't be easy
So much hype has surrounded Liverpool of late. Prior to the game in South Wales, the Reds had taken 29 points from 33 and looked destined for a Champions League finish.
Just two points separate them and Manchester United following their win at the Liberty Stadium, however the task will be much more difficult than expected.
The Red Devils travel to Anfield on Sunday following their 3-0 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday and will be full of confidence.
In their following game, Liverpool then have a difficult task of travelling to face Arsenal, another top-four rival.
If the Merseyside club fail to pick up a single point from either of those games, that will be their top-four chances all but gone.
The Premier League too has a serious relegation battle this term. Everton look safe in 14th place however 15th down their is a scrap fro relegation.
In the closing fixtures of the league, there is always plenty of surprises from the bottom teams. Liverpool still have to meet Hull City, who they were beaten by last season, at the KC Stadium and QPR at home.
Easy games they may look but there will be plenty of fight in those side's and they could be a lot more difficult than based on paper.
Add that to a trip to Stamford Bridge to face league-leaders Chelsea in May which is Liverpool's most difficult game of the season.
Fans who are already plotting where Liverpool could be travelling to in Europe next season, don't get ahead of yourselves. There is a lot of football left.
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