Swansea three points from safety after ending Liverpool's unbeaten run

Defender Alfie Mawson has scored three league and cup goals this season

Bottom of the table Swansea City stunned Liverpool to end an 18-game unbeaten run for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Alfie Mawson’s goal – after Liverpool failed to clear a rare Swansea corner – proved the difference at the Liberty Stadium as the Swans recorded a potentially priceless win.

Six points adrift of safety heading into a contest and having lost eight on the bounce against sides in the top six, Swansea are now within three points of Premier League safety, while the Reds failed to close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester United but remain fourth.

Liverpool had by far the better scoring chances but some poor finishing, fine home defending and an impressive display from goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski kept them at bay, while Roberto Firmino struck the post with a header at the death.

Swansea have lost just once in six matches since the appointment of manager Carlos Carvalhal, while Liverpool lost for the first time since Spurs beat them 4-1 on 22 October.

Goal-shy Swansea stay with pack

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Heading into this match the hosts had scored only 22 goals all season across all competitions – two fewer than Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has managed on his own.

The Swans had already been defeated in seven of their previous 11 home matches this season and a loss to loss to Liverpool would have equalled their worst home record in the Premier League, so it was perhaps no surprise that they approached the contest more like an away match.

Having shipped five goals at Anfield just 27 days ago, that cautious approach made sense, essentially considering Swansea had lost each of their last eight home fixtures against the top six, conceding 25 goals in the process.

However, while they might have lacked Liverpool’s quality, their game management will have thrilled manager Carvalhal.

Their back three of Mawson, Federico Fernandez and Mike van der Hoorn were superb and as the contest wore on they had an outlet in the tireless Jordan Ayew, who might have added a second but saw his effort was well saved by Loris Karius.

Liverpool pushed until the end with substitute Danny Ings testing Fabianski. Swansea were then forced to repel cross after cross but the result was secured when Salah blasted over and Firmino struck the post in time added on.

Personnel changes mean adjustment for Liverpool

January has been a month of adjustment for Liverpool and their first league contest with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of their defence provided a first look at what they have gained and lost.

The world’s most expensive defender looked assured and composed for long spells, even contributing to a host of attacks, but he was also central to the goal.

He failed to effectively cut out two successive crosses, heading both out for corners, and from the second his timid header struck Swansea skipper Fernandez and fell perfectly for Mawson, who finished like a striker into the bottom corner.

The goal, which sparked celebrations so wild Fernandez broke his nose in the excitement, was harsh on a Liverpool side missing the invention and creative spark provided by the departed Philippe Coutinho.

That might not have been the case in the thrilling 4-3 win against Manchester City, when Pep Guardiola’s side were happy to give as good as they got and leave space, but it was a different story against a side with 11 men behind the ball.

When they did break through, Van Dijk headed wide from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain corner and freed Salah beautifully with a ball over the top that the Egyptian fired over, before Fabianski denied Oxlade-Chamberlain’s half-volley.

The visitors should have levelled just before the break but Sadio Mane could only volley wide after Salah’s centre, and a sense of desperation crept into Liverpool’s play as the contest wore on.

Man of the match – Alfie Mawson (Swansea)

Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Turning the table upside down – the stats

  • Since the start of 2014-15, this is only the third time the team starting the day bottom of the table have beaten a team in the top four (W3 D4 L20). The other two occasions were Crystal Palace against Chelsea this season, and Swansea at Liverpool in 2016-17.
  • Swansea have earned seven points in their four Premier League games under Carlos Carvalhal (W2 D1 L1), two more than they’d picked up in their 12 before his arrival (W1 D2 L9).
  • This was Liverpool’s first defeat in 15 Premier League games (W10 D4), and just their third in the competition this season.
  • Jurgen Klopp has lost three Premier League games against Swansea, more than he has against any other opponent in the competition.
  • Alfie Mawson is only the second Swansea player to score more than once in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadium this season, after Tammy Abraham (three).
  • Liverpool had 20 shots to Swansea’s three in this match, but only managed two more attempts on target than the hosts (2).

What’s next?

Both teams are in FA Cup fourth-round action on Saturday, when Swansea look to avoid a shock at League Two Notts County (15:00 GMT) and Liverpool host West Brom in the late game (19:45).

Line-ups

Swansea

  • 1Fabianski
  • 26Naughton
  • 5van der Hoorn
  • 33Fernandez
  • 6Mawson
  • 16Olsson
  • 12DyerSubstituted forCarrollat 64′minutes
  • 8Fer
  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 17Clucas
  • 18J AyewSubstituted forBonyat 79′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Bony
  • 11Narsingh
  • 13Nordfeldt
  • 14Carroll
  • 27Bartley
  • 51Mesa
  • 62McBurnie

Liverpool

  • 1Karius
  • 12Gomez
  • 32MatipBooked at 45mins
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26RobertsonBooked at 44mins
  • 23Can
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forIngsat 73′minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 21Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forLallanaat 68′minutes
  • 19Mané
  • 9Firmino

Substitutes

  • 7Milner
  • 17Klavan
  • 20Lallana
  • 22Mignolet
  • 28Ings
  • 29Solanke
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
Referee:
Neil Swarbrick
Attendance:
20,886

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home28%
Away72%
Shots
Home3
Away21
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home3
Away9
Fouls
Home5
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Swansea City 1, Liverpool 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Swansea City 1, Liverpool 0.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Alfie Mawson.

Attempt blocked. Adam Lallana (Liverpool) left footed shot from very close range is blocked.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) hits the left post with a header from the right side of the six yard box. Assisted by Virgil van Dijk.

Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Adam Lallana.

Attempt missed. Emre Can (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a headed pass.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Alfie Mawson.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joel Matip.

Attempt saved. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mohamed Salah with a cross.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Federico Fernández.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a cross.

Attempt missed. Joseph Gomez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Swansea City. Wilfried Bony replaces Jordan Ayew.

Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).

Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Danny Ings (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Danny Ings replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.

Offside, Swansea City. Lukasz Fabianski tries a through ball, but Jordan Ayew is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Joseph Gomez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Attempt missed. Joel Matip (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.

Attempt saved. Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Tom Carroll.

Attempt missed. Emre Can (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Substitution

Substitution, Liverpool. Adam Lallana replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Federico Fernández.

Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Swansea City. Tom Carroll replaces Nathan Dyer.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Lukasz Fabianski.

Attempt saved. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Alfie Mawson.

Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Emre Can.

Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Foul by Joel Matip (Liverpool).

Jordan Ayew (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Federico Fernández.

Foul by Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).

Leroy Fer (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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