Goalscorers: Fernando Llorente 48, 52, Roberto Firmino 55, 69, Gylfi Sigurdsson 74
Liverpool FC: Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Emre Can (Divock Origi 70), Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum (Joel Matip 90), Philippe Coutinho (Daniel Sturridge 57), Roberto Firmino
Swansea City: Lukasz Fabianski, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson, Kyle Naughton, Martin Olsson (Angel Rangel 79), Tom Carroll, Jack Cork, Leroy Fer (Jay Fulton 90), Wayne Routledge, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente (Borja Baston 85)
Referee: Kevin Friend, Attendance: 53,169
In January 2017, Swansea City were already on their third manager of the season. Having sacked Francesco Guidolin in October and Bob Bradley two months later, it was now down to the former Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain assistant Paul Clement to try and save them from relegation.
Clement had taken over a few weeks earlier and his new side were bottom of the Premier League table when they made the trip to face Liverpool FC. They had never won in any of their previous 15 league visits to Anfield. However, they were about to pull off a historic result which destroyed any hopes Jurgen Klopp’s side had of catching runaway league leaders Chelsea.
Having conceded more goals than anyone else in the top-flight upto this point, Clement’s tactics were spot-on in the first half by allowing Liverpool to dominate possession but ensure they didn’t have any space to utilise it. The Reds, missing Sadio Mane who was on African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal looked blunt without him and were restricted to half-chances in the first half which ended goalless and there wasn’t much to write home about.
All that changed two minutes into the second half when Swansea took a shock lead. Gylfi Sigurdsson’s deep corner caused chaos in the penalty area. Centre-back Federico Fernandez kept the ball alive and Fernando Llorente reacted quickest to the loose ball for a simple tap-in. It was his seventh Premier League goal of the season. Four minutes later, the Spaniard and his side had amazingly doubled their lead.
Making his second debut for the club after signing permanently earlier in the week from Tottenham Hotspur, Tom Carroll delivered a devilish ball into the penalty area from the left-hand side. Llorente was much stronger than Dejan Lovren in the air and his well-placed downwards header went past Simon Mignolet. These two goals were Llorente’s first-ever away goals for the club since he’d joined in the summer from Sevilla.
Liverpool needed a swift response and Roberto Firmino provided it in the 55th minute. James Milner provided a great cross and infront of The Kop, Firmino was there to pounce. With 22 minutes to go, it looked like the Brazilian had got the Reds out of jail by providing the equaliser. Georginio Wijnaldum fed the ball into the danger area and Firmino produced another brilliant finish with skill and panache to match Llorente’s feat in scoring two in the match. Klopp’s side were now red-hot favourites to get the fifth goal but Swansea wouldn’t lie down and with 16 minutes to go, they went back infront.
Llorente and Carroll played their part and when Ragnar Klavan got in an interception; his block only fell into the path of Sigurdsson who scored his first goal in eight matches with a calm, deft strike. Despite enjoying nearly 75% possession, Liverpool’s 17-match unbeaten Premier League run at Anfield had come to an end and further setbacks with exits in both domestic cup competitions made it a miserable January 2017 for Jurgen Klopp.
Swansea avoided relegation thanks to the goals of Llorente, the assists of Sigurdsson and the determination of their side to pull off unlikely results like this victory on Merseyside.