Talking Tactics: Jordan Ayew
Ahead of Liverpool's Liberty visit tonight, we have teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter.
The Swans secured a spot in the next round of the FA Cup courtesy of third-round replay win over Wolves last week.
The victory over the Championship table toppers will boost morale to no end as they gear up for the meeting with high-flying Liverpool.
Wednesday’s win means Swansea have now lost just one of their last five competitive matches, but it’ll take everything within their power to secure a crucial three points against the Reds.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League matches, winning 10, including an enthralling 4-3 win over Manchester City. However, as entertaining as the match on Merseyside may have been, it merely went on to highlight just how suspect Liverpool can be at the back.
The Reds have conceded in all but two of their 11 away Premier League games this season, while only a handful of teams have shipped more away goals this term than Jurgen Klopp’s side (21).
Attack, then, could be the best form of defence for Swansea tonight, with Jordan Ayew the key man ahead of the welcome of Liverpool.
The Ghanian scored a stunning solo goal on Wednesday night to put Swansea ahead against Wolves and has now scored four goals in his last seven competitive outings.
What’s more, Ayew has been named the WhoScored.com man of the match in three of his last five Premier League appearances and his offensive output is vital against the Merseyside outfit.
Only Wilfried Bony (2.7) is averaging more shots per 90 minutes than Ayew (1.9) of all Swansea players this season and Carlos Carvalhal will need the latter’s confidence in his goal getting ability in the Swans’ quest to hit the back of the net.
Crucially still, Ayew’s statistically-calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘defensive contribution’ will also be central to Swansea’s efforts to break Liverpool down.
A return of 2.2 tackles per 90 is the fourth best of all Swansea players in the Premier League this season, with Ayew’s ability to routinely pressure the backline aiding in creating goalscoring chances for the south Wales side.
Considering Liverpool’s defensive deficiencies, Ayew’s influence in the final third both on and off the ball will undoubtedly go a long way to ending Liverpool’s unbeaten run.
That being said, Ayew has a tough task on his hands to get the better of the Reds backline.
Big money January arrival Virgil van Dijk is set to make his first Premier League start for Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium tonight and after his match-winning performance on his full debut in the Merseyside derby earlier this month - Van Dijk netted a late winner to secure a 2-1 win over Everton - he’ll be full of confidence ahead of the meeting with Swansea.
Getting the better of the highly rated Dutchman will be no easy task, but Ayew is hitting top form at just the right time to trouble Van Dijk.
If he can perform to the best of his ability, then Swansea can bring Liverpool’s unbeaten run to an emphatic end tonight.