Swansea, Reds share spoils
Jonathan de Guzman and Jose Enrique (AP)
Swansea - There were no goals but no shortage
of goalmouth action as the return of Brendan Rodgers produced a lively
0-0 draw between Swansea City and Liverpool on Sunday.
Swansea manager saw his Liverpool side fashion half a dozen genuine
opportunities against a Swansea team who were equally inventive.
In the end, it was a case of close but not close enough as the sides shared the points at the Liberty Stadium.
Thankfully, the pre-match handshakes passed without incident, too.
captain Ashley Williams criticised Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in a
book that was released this week but he shook hands with the Uruguayan
prior to kick-off.
The early exchanges belonged to Swansea, with
Pablo Hernandez and Michu posing one or two problems for a Liverpool
side who came into the game as one of the division's under-achievers
That said, it was Liverpool who had the first genuine opportunity.
Suarez was foiled by Chico Flores and, when the ball broke to Raheem Sterling, the 17-year-old scuffed his shot.
Glen Johnson header from a Steven Gerrard corner sailed harmlessly
over, before Pepe Reina was called into action to push aside a smart
strike from Wayne Routledge at the other end.
The best chance of
the opening quarter, however, came in the 17th minute when Jose Enrique
failed to find the target from six yards after a pin-point centre from
It was certainly living up to its billing as a game for the football purist.
Both sides played through midfield with both team's players comfortable on the ball under pressure.
failed to connect with a whipped cross from Enrique and moments later,
Martin Skrtel cut out Leon Britton's cross with Michu waiting to pounce
on the penalty spot.
Liverpool's patience was almost rewarded in
the 25th minute when Johnson, arriving late, was denied by a wonderful
save from Gerhard Tremmel.
For Swansea, the real concern was the
ease with which Joe Allen and Gerrard opened up a back four that
included Flores for the first time in three weeks.
next to threaten. The Spaniard worked himself into an acre of space on
the edge of the Liverpool penalty area but saw his measured shot curl
narrowly wide of Reina's far post.
Sterling went closer on the
half hour when he struck the bar from 18 yards and both Gerrard and
Suarez had shots blocked as the visitor turned up the heat.
then had a goal chalked off for offside after a delicate chip from
Suarez, 11 minutes before the interval, and there was no let-up after
the break, with both sides desperate to gain the ascendency.
Gerrard's left-foot shot was gathered by Tremmel, Suarez was denied by
the German goalkeeper at his near post and Sterling was forced into a
corner after an initial break that had Swansea at sixes and sevens.
header gave Reina his first work of the half but the goalkeeper had
little or no chance when Williams rose above Daniel Agger to head
Thankfully, for the visitors, Allen was on the far post to clear.
With both sides unwilling to settle for a share of the spoils, chances continued to come thick and fast.
were far from as clear cut as they had been in the first half, until
Suarez and Sterling butchered a two-on-one situation eight minutes from
Liverpool looked odds-on to score but Sterling's return pass
to Suarez was too wide and though the Uruguayan cut inside to create an
opportunity, he struck his shot straight into Tremmel's midriff.
turned a Hernandez free kick around the post for a corner, three
minutes later, before Tremmel had to produce a flying save to repel
Liverpool substitute Jonjo Shelvey in injury time.