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Liverpool Prove Title-Challenging Credentials And Other Talking Points From Swansea Win

Liverpool Prove Title-Challenging Credentials And Other Talking Points From Swansea Win
By Conall Cahill Updated

Swansea and Liverpool clashed today at the Liberty Stadium with Liverpool looking for five wins in a row near the top of the Premier League table and Swansea already looking destined for a relegation battle. At times Liverpool have looked absolutely unplayable this season but it took them until the latter stages of the first half to get going on this occasion - and even then they were comparably very poor considering the form they had going into the game.

Here are five talking points from the match.

1. Liverpool as title challengers

It became hard to listen to during Fergie's reign at Manchester United and it was also a feature of Mourinho's title-winning spell at Chelsea: commentators remarking that 'it's the one-goal victories that win you the league' or 'it's when you don't play well, and win (that you become a title challenger)'. But that doesn't make it any less true, and Liverpool managing to scrape through despite a hugely below-par performance will be of as much encouragement, perhaps, as their sublime wins over Chelski and Leicester.

2.Liverpool concede from a set-piece...again

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp went on Monday night football earlier in the week and gave a detailed analysis of his team's struggles with set-pieces, coming to the conclusion that the best solution could be to "make my players taller". Today, even with Dejan Lovren back in the side in place of Ragnar Klavan, the trend continued, as Leroy Fer poked home for Swansea in the eighth minute following a bit of a scramble in the box.

3. Daniel Sturridge's woes continue

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Sturridge had four goals and two assists in six games against Swansea before this match so Liverpool fans might have been hopeful of a good performance from him off the bench today, even though he hadn't scored in seven Premier League games. He came on for Lallana on 23 minutes but the length of time he took to come on was perhaps a forewarning of what would follow, as being booked for diving was his main input into the match. Liverpool fans weren't happy with his perceived lethargy throughout the game, something perhaps best summed up by the clip above. 'Underwhelming' - perhaps the word that sums up his career as well as today's performance.

4. Liverpool were surprisingly sluggish 

Liverpool completely dismantled Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (despite only winning 2-1) and their football in defeating Leicester City as well as Hull and Derby was mesmerising to watch. Therefore their performance today, particularly in the first half, was surprising. Coutinho was anonymous apart from occasional moments of quality, Firmino much the same apart from his goal. They seemed to really miss Lallana after he went off injured. Nevertheless, credit to Swansea, as Roy Keane might say. Their pressing game was highlighted on Sky Sports at half time and really pressurised their opponents in a manner reminiscent of Brendan Rodgers' Swansea years ago.

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As the game went on, it looked like Liverpool would need an absolute fluke to win, much like last time they won at Swansea.

5. 'Boring James Milner' saves Liverpool

The normally reliable Angel Rangel panicked and shoved Firmino over in the box, and up stepped Liverpool's Everyman, their Mr Reliable, to save the day. Say whatever you like about Milner but he has consistently delivered for Liverpool - whether it is putting in a shift at right back or, as here, coolly dispatching a crucial penalty.

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See also: 'I Can't Tell You What I Used To Do To John Aldridge's Toothbrush'

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