They’re all guns blazing going forward, but Klopp’s men can be undone at the back
Forget the goals, the firepower and the slick passing play , Liverpool are not without their flaws under Jürgen Klopp. And make no mistake, Swansea City have the ability to hurt the Reds, provided they can weather the inevitable attacking storm from the visitors.
The Reds boast a hugely impressive front four , but what about their back four? It is yet to prove itself under the former Borüssia Dortmund coach.
Liverpool have not kept a single clean sheet in the league this season and have conceded nine goals in six games. At the back, they are fallable.
Their defensive displays have been far-from assured this season, with the likes of Lucas Leiva and James Milner providing makeshift cover across the back four and new signings Joe Matip and Ragnar Klavan still bedding in on Merseyside.
Fernando Llorente bagged his first Swans’ goal against Manchester City last weekend and we all know how dangerous Gylfi Sigurdsson can be.
So just how can the Swans exploit Liverpool’s weaknesses on Saturday?
Take on James Milner
A right-footed left-back isn’t ideal for any side. And while Milner – selected ahead of the defensively-suspect Alberto Moreno – has performed competently at left-back, it isn’t his natural position. Guidolin could pit Mo Barrow against the England man in an attempt to isolate Milner and exploit his weakness against an out-and-out winger.
Barrow has the pace to get round Milner, get to the byline and deliver crosses aimed at Llorente. It could bear fruit for Swansea on Saturday.
Challenge Matip and Klavan’s relationship
Two players without Premier League experience come to the Liberty on Saturday. Two central defenders who have played together in just two competitive fixtures.
Matip and Klavan are a brand new Premier League partnership, so Swansea must exploit any uncertainty between the Cameroon and Estionian defenders. One of their matches together was the 3-0 defeat of Championship strugglers Derby County in the EFL Cup. So although one of Liverpool’s few clean sheets this season came with the two new boys together in defence, it came against weaker opposition. Llorente will be licking his lips.
Get in between the lines
If you’ve been watching Liverpool in recent weeks, you might have realised that the Reds don’t tend to play with a traditional ‘holding midfielder’. Jordan Henderson nominally occupies the deepest role in midfield, often flanked by Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum, but it’s a midfield that likes to press forward rather than track back.
Gyfi Sigurdsson could be crucial for the Swans in occupying the space between the lines and ensuring Henderson cannot creep too far forward to help out his attack.
Take your chances
Just ask Burnley. Sean Dyche’s side are the only team to beat the Reds this season in one of the most unlikely games you’ll ever see. Despite having 19 per cent possession – the lowest total by a winning side in the Premier League since Opta began recording the statistic in 2003 – Burnley took their chances and took the points.
The secret to the Clarets’ success was the clinical finishing of frontmen Andre Gray and Sam Vokes. Burnley managed two shots on target… and two goals. They defended deep and only five of Liverpool’s 26 shots were on target. Whether Guidolin opts for such a defensive strategy remains to be seen.