Liverpool closed the gap on fourth placed Manchester United to two points ahead of their meeting on Sunday, thanks to a hard fought 1-0 win over Swansea on Monday night.
Jordan Henderson made it three goals in three Premier League matches, as the Reds also secured a sixth consecutive clean sheet away from home – equalling a club record from 40 years ago.
Simon Mignolet has been a key part of that run since his return to the side on Boxing Day, and the Belgian was the Reds standout performer in what was a testing first half.
Garry Monk’s side dominated the possession and created the better chances in a 45 minutes where Liverpool simply could not get going.
Mignolet had to react quickly to get down and parry a low shot from Bafetimbi Gomis, whilst he was also on hand to tip a curling strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson around the post.
Jonjo Shelvey has had an eventful time of things facing his former club since his £6million move to the Liberty Stadium, and almost managed his third goal against the Reds since his switch when he found space in the box from a corner. Adam Lallana was fortunate to deflect his effort wide with Mignolet rooted to the spot.
Liverpool were in desperate need of an improvement in the second half, and Brendan Rodgers decision to change to a midfield diamond proved decisive.
The Reds began to find some of the rythm that has been a feature of a run that had seen them go 12 league matches unbeaten prior to this fixture. Philippe Coutinho has been a key part of that, with stunning goals against Southampton and Manchester City in recent weeks. The Brazilian almost hit another decisive strike after Raheem Sterling picked him out in the box, but Swansea goalkeeper Fabianksi reacted smartly to tip the ball around the post.
The Polish goalkeeper had a routine save to make from the impressive Joe Allen shortly after, but could do nothing about the effort from midfield partner Jordan Henderson with 22 minutes remaining.
Daniel Sturridge flicked through a ball from Martin Skrtel, and Henderson – in a more advanced position following the tactical switch – ran through on goal. Swans defender Jordi Anmat thought he had saved the day with a fine challenge, but was unfortunate to see the ball deflect off the Reds midfielder over Fabianski and into the back of the net.
Swansea deflated after Liverpool’s slice of fortune, and the Reds saw the game out relatively comfortable. Daniel Sturridge could have rubbed salt further into Swansea’s wounds in added time, when collecting a pass from Philippe Coutinho with only Ashley Williams and the keeper in front of him.
The Reds number 15 was unfortunate to see a cheeky right footed shot come back off the post, but it mattered little in the end as Liverpool set up a mouth-watering clash against Manchester United in the fight for fourth on Sunday.
A lack lustre performance but grateful for the three points. Low intensity of pressure especially during the first half, terrible passing, and big gaps in the midfield. The need for improvement and consistency need to be addressed because this squad of players is lacking in two or three positions.
Will this coming season provide us with the quality that we desperatley need, I have my doubts if Rodgers previous signings are anything to go by. Can this manager be trusted, I really do not think so little faith in this manager.