After much suffering this season, Liverpool finally got their act together at Anfield last night with a 4-1 rout over Swansea City.
Alberto Moreno’s opener was followed by a brace from Adam Lallana – his second via huge mistake by Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski – as he produced his best performance in a red shirt. But he was not alone in a delightful team display.
Swansea’s former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who may face disciplinary action after smashing his forearm into the face of Emre Can, headed in an own goal for the fourth.
With just three home wins all season, the pressure has been on Liverpool to restore the fear factor, akin to that of last season, at Anfield.
Having decided to start without Steven Gerrard, Brendan Rodgers again put himself and his players under scrutiny. He continued with Raheem Sterling as a central striker and he was inevitably involved as Liverpool tried to gain the upper hand early on.
He forced a corner with a typical driving run and Martin Skrtel rose highest to power Jordan Henderson’s cross straight at Fabianski.
Then in the 13th minute Sterling swept out a ball to Moreno on the left and continued his run into the box where he met the low return with a volley that was blocked well by the Swansea keeper while Adam Lallana was rash with the rebound as it flew well over the bar.
Chances, though, were limited. Garry Monk, captain under Rodgers when he was in charge of the Welsh club, would have been pleased with the work ethic of his side, but not their lack of attacking threat. And they were undone by a beautifully-constructed goal.
Mamadou Sakho released Moreno down the left and the ball was worked towards the opposite flank by Lallana. Henderson's subsequent cross found Moreno who managed to fire past Fabianski.
Liverpool were lifted and Philippe Coutinho started to impose himself, with quick feet engineering a chance that was stopped superbly at his near post by the busy Fabianski, who also pushed out a venomous drive from the Brazilian just before the break.
Meanwhile, Swansea were struggling and their task made even harder by conceding a calamitous second goal. Fabianski had ample time to clear a backpass from Ashley Williams, but chose to smack it against Lallana, who had closed down quickly,
and watched in horror as it bounced over him and into the empty net.
Liverpool were still in celebration mode it seemed when the visitors hit straight back. Skrtel conceded a free kick on the right and
Wayne Routledge’s delivery was headed clear by Sakho, but into the path of Sigurdsson who slotted calmly past Simon Mignolet.
The game had exploded into life and turned into a cracker. From the restart, Wilfried Bony pounced on a loose ball and Mignolet saved.
With a swift counter of their own a minute later, Moreno fed Henderson and his fabulous cross found Sterling who steered a finish
against the post.
Liverpool’s pace-fuelled movement was magical and Swansea were static. They could do nothing when Coutinho’s backheel flick released Lallana in the 61st minute and he drove to the left side before coolly firing past Fabianski.
A fourth goal followed eight minutes later when Shelvey flicked Henderson’s corner into his own net. It summed up his miserable
return to his former club and Swansea’s fortunes.
After Sterling was fortunate not to be punished for a slap in the face of Federico Fernandez, Bafetimbi Gomis curled a shot against the woodwork.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert calls for a Premier League winter break ahead of their New Year's Day match against Crystal Palace.
Swansea City boss Garry Monk pays tribute to Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers before the two teams meet in the Premier League. Monk captained the Swans during Rodgers' highly successful two-year stint at the Liberty Stadium.