Liverpool 4 Swansea City 3 match report: Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson each score twice in thrilling victory for the Reds

Dramatic win at Anfield keeps Brendan Rodgers' side in title contention

Anfield

It’s some throwback we’re getting from Liverpool – not just to the days of Thatcher’s Britain, when Anfield last aspired to win the title, but to the days of football in the park, when next goal wins.

Exhilarating as the football might be from Brendan Rodgers’ troubadours – who have scored more goals here already this season than in any of the past three and have now overtaken Manchester City’s overall tally – their defensive brittleness is the trait which casts a shadow over their quest to return to Europe’s top table.

The seventh goal of another breathless afternoon finally proved enough to take the home side within four points of Chelsea but there was suffering and celebration in equal measure for those who came to watch. The other sides who covet fourth place will have taken heart from what they saw in the performances of Martin Skrtel, the returning Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger. The manager’s admission that he had substituted Agger for no other reason than his lack of physicality was a damning indictment. It comes to something when you turn to Kolo Touré as a reinforcement.

Read more: 'We will never play the Chelsea way' - Rodgers
Why Liverpool are the most entertaining team in the Premier League
Liverpool 4 Swansea 3 match report
Gary Neville calls former Liverpool MD Purslow a 'clueless fool

But this is the way it is going to be for Liverpool between now and May. The most revealing aspect of Rodgers’ post-match dissection of yesterday’s game was his declaration that greater defensive security is something he can’t coach in his players. If they can’t intuit it, they’ll never have it.

 

There might need to be more composure in the three months ahead, the manager admits, but it is the incredible offensive component – one which has made Anfield the most consistently fine place to watch football this season – which will take them back to the European big time. 

To the very end, Liverpool’s lead lacked any type of security. A vignette eight minutes from time told it all: Touré allowed the ball to be played inside him and Johnson slammed a clearance straight into Skrtel, two feet to his right. Yet in Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson there was evidence of that transformative effective Rodgers has on those players who are willing to play the game his way.

Both fizzed with menace as the home team began with a now trademark Anfield intensity which suggested another avalanche. Jonathan de Guzman was left sprawled across the turf as Sterling dispossessed him, advanced and clipped an imperious pass with his right outstep behind Chico Flores which Daniel Sturridge ran on to, eased past Michel Vorm and steered into the net. Sturridge really does love rounding a goalkeeper.

Sterling’s breezy self-confidence – immediately bending a right-foot shot which Vorm dived to claw away – gave him the air of a player who could win this match single-handed. And then Henderson stepped up, doubling Liverpool’s lead on 20 minutes, arcing a first-time shot onto the ball which Sturridge had rolled into his path from the side of the penalty area.

But even in those early stages there was a premonition of what was to follow. Sterling’s confidence saw him attempt a cushioned volley pass from the edge of his own area – straight to Angel Rangel. That kind of swagger was unwise against a side in whom Garry Monk has restored the crisp, pacy, technical component which had drifted away in the last weeks of Michael Laudrup’s tenure.

In a very gratifying match for those extol the innate virtues of the English footballer, Leon Britton, Jonjo Shelvey and Nathan Dyer – Englishmen all – were excellent for Monk.

It was Dyer who advanced in from Swansea’s right to supply a short pass which Shelvey’s right foot sent fizzing into the top right-hand corner of Simon Mignolet’s net – a mirror image of Henderson’s strike – and within four minutes Wilfried Bony had levered a header onto De Guzman’s free-kick which Skrtel diverted haplessly into his own net.

Though Sturridge’s header re-established his team’s lead – Flores and Ashley Williams allowing him a criminal quantity of space when Luis Suarez’s cross from the left split the pair of them – the first half concluded with Dyer dispossessing Philippe Coutinho and Henderson sending an aimless, dangerous ball across his own area.

The interval made no ostensible difference. Swansea levelled again within two minutes of the restart – though Skrtel was unfortunate to have been adjudged to have fouled Bony as the two tussled for the ball in the area. The Ivorian dispatched the penalty.

It said everything about Swansea's threat that Joe Allen was needed from the bench, in Sterling’s place, as a reinforcement, against a side who had managed half of Liverpool’s season’s tally before yesterday. It worked – and Allen also almost set Liverpool back on their course, dispossessing Flores five yards in front of Swansea’s area before feeding Sturridge, whose shot had left his boot when Williams launched himself into a monumental block.

There was a naivety about the way Swansea kept advancing, creating a vast pocket of space between midfield and defence which Liverpool could eventually seize to score the decisive goal.

One of Steven Gerrard’s several zeroed 20-yard passes found Suarez, whose shot Williams could only block to the feet of Henderson. Vorm repelled the midfielder’s strike but the rebound fell back at the same player’s feet to score.

Gerrard also hit the post in the last minute. His side are another step towards their holy grail but hold on tight – because this journey will be high octane to the last.

Liverpool (4-1-4-1) Mignolet 6; Flanagan 6 Agger 4 (Toure 5 63), Skrtel 4, Johnson 4; Gerrard 6; Sturridge 8 (Moses 79 6), Coutinho 6, Henderson 7, Sterling 8 (Allen 58). Suarez 6. Substitutes: Jones, Toure, Aspas, Moses, Cissokho, Teixeira

Swansea (4-2-3-1) Vorm 7; Rangel 7, Flores 5, Williams 6, Taylor 6; de Guzman 6 (Hernandez, 73 6) Britton 8; Dyer 7 (Ngog, 78 6), Shelvey 7 (Canas, 45), Routledge 6; Bony 6. Substitutes: Tremmel, Tiendall, Amat, Ngog, Emnes.

Referee: M. Jones (Cheshire)

Booked: Liverpool Skrtel

Attendance: 44,731

Suggested Topics
News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past