When you have to shoot, shoot
Swansea v Liverpool, Sunday 12.00pm, Sky Sports 1
Let’s start with the good.
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is fully fit and firing on all cylinders, and it is beautiful to see. The English frontman has found the onion bag in each of his last four league games and has taken his top flight tally to 43 in 67 league games for the Reds. That’s pretty much bang on two goals every three games which is very tidy indeed.
When he’s not injured, Sturridge is deadly and has converted 18 per cent of his chances over the last four seasons. He’s scored or assisted a goal every 89 minutes in his Premier League career for Liverpool, and despite his legs being made of the world’s most fragile china, when he’s at peak condition he’s arguably one of the best in the division.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp and co. then we get to the bad.
Step forward Simon Mignolet. The Belgian keeper cost Liverpool another goal on Saturday afternoon when he showed all the judgement and wisdom of a Donald Trump convention to come flying out towards an Andros Townsend cross, missing it completely and allowing Papiss Cisse the simplest of headers into an unguarded net. Unfortunately this is not a rare occurrence between the Liverpool sticks.
Of the 20 Premier League teams, Liverpool now rank second in the table of shots on target conceded. Not the runners-up spot you really want to be claiming. A whopping 40 per cent of shots that have been heading for Liverpool’s goal have passed Mignolet, with only Bournemouth posting a worse record.
And then the ugly – Swansea City, or more specifically the habit of teams who have nothing to play for downing tools. This isn’t a jibe at the potential attractiveness of the Welsh town. We’ve heard there are some stunners knocking around.
Safety is a certainty for the Swans while a top 10 finish is near impossible. So the flip-flops are out and the countdown to the holidays are on. Any one in work will know that with holidays approaching you coast through a few days, putting off meetings with the boss and casually ignoring emails. And that’s pretty much what happens in the league.
Consider the following teams who have very little to play for:
- Swansea – Conceded seven goals in two games
- Stoke – Conceded 12 goals in three games
- Bournemouth – Conceded 14 goals in five games
It’s no surprise therefore that Liverpool are the favourites to win when they travel to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday. However, with Sturridge in flying form, Mignolet only ever 30 seconds away from a complete brain-fart, and Swansea thinking about that first cocktail on the beach, the value may be in Liverpool to win and both teams to score at .