TALKING TACTICS: Liverpool v Swans
28th November 2015
Ahead of Swansea City's trip to Liverpool on Sunday, the official website has teamed up with football stats experts WhoScored.com to preview the Premier League encounter at Anfield.
A 2-2 draw with Bournemouth last time out ensured the Swans didn't succumb to three successive league defeats and manager Garry Monk will be keen to oversee a return to winning ways on Merseyside.
While Swansea have struggled on their travels of late, they would be wise to take a page out of Crystal Palace's book if they are to come away with a positive result this weekend.
Despite the Reds being dominant over the 90 minutes, Palace's approach and tactical discipline meant they secured a 2-1 win in an impressive counter-attacking display at Anfield.
Liverpool have won only two of their last six home competitive fixtures, that coming against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup, and have kept just one clean sheet from their last 10 outings in front of their own fans. It's fair to say Swansea can exploit Liverpool's lacklustre home form of late.
A similar counter-attacking display will go a long way to picking up all three points at Anfield. The Welsh outfit certainly have the players capable of hitting Liverpool on the break, none more so than Andre Ayew. The Ghana international has slotted into his new team seamlessly having gained a better WhoScored.com rating (7.09) than any other Swansea player in the Premier League this season.
Ayew has been directly involved in 50% (six goals and one assist) of Swansea's 14 league goals thus far, with his six goals one of the best returns in England's top flight. He's quickly adjusted to the rigours of English football, which has been hugely beneficial to Swansea this season. He is already being tipped as one of the signings of the summer and another strong showing against Liverpool would be strengthen his case.
Only a handful of teams have shipped more goals at home than Liverpool (9) this season, while the Reds have conceded at least once in five of their six home league games this campaign. Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp's side have gained a statistically calculated WhoScored.com weakness of 'defending against attacks down the wings'.
Conversely, one of Swansea's styles of play is 'attacking down the right', where Ayew can hurt the Merseyside outfit. 10 of his 13 league starts have come on this side of the pitch and given Alberto Moreno's inclination to press forward, the Swansea ace can exploit the space left behind by the Spaniard when Liverpool attack.
Therefore, it will be down to the tough-tackling Emre Can to limit Ayew's influence for the Swans. The German boasts a WhoScored.com strength of 'tackling' and this quality needs to be on show in order to hinder Ayew. Can churned out a thoroughly disappointing display against Palace before the international break, however, and is also among the top 10 lowest WhoScored.com ranked players of those to have started in at least 10 league games this season (6.55), which should give Ayew more confidence ahead of the weekend.
With Liverpool playing on Thursday prior to the encounter, fatigue could also be cause for concern for the host, though, if Ayew performs to his potential; Swansea have a much stronger chance of upsetting the odds and returning to winning ways at Anfield.
*WhoScored.com is a unique website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. You can follow @WhoScored and their editorial assistant Ben McAleer on Twitter.