Swansea vs. Liverpool: 6 Things We Learned
Following wins over Stoke City, Aston Villa and Manchester United, the Reds had to settle for a draw in a pulsating game which was dominated by the influence of a man they sold to the Swans in the summer.
Jonjo Shelvey was everywhere at the Liberty Stadium, firstly in bundling his way through the Reds defence to put his side ahead less than two minutes in, before his disastrous back-pass allowed Daniel Sturridge in to continue his 100 percent goalscoring record in Premier League games this season as he made it four goals in four.
A misplaced pass from Shelvey to Victor Moses then resulted in the Liverpool debutant's superb run and shot into the bottom corner as the Reds took the lead before the break, only for Shelvey's flick-on to be turned in by Michu for Swansea's leveller midway through the second half.
A draw was surely a fair result following a pulsating 90 minutes, and here are six things that can be taken away from the game.
The Shelvey Show
Jonjo Shelvey was always the most curious of Liverpool footballers whom fans spent far too much time discussing in pubs or at the match itself, and they were talking about him again following an eventful evening for the youngster.
There is clearly potential in a player who, at just 21, still has so much left to see and do in the game, but what goes on in the midfielder's head is a mystery perhaps even to him.
He always wanted to emulate Steven Gerrard during his time at Liverpool, and in getting a match named after him perhaps he has achieved one of his aims following his departure. Just as the 2006 FA Cup Final will always be "The Gerrard Game," so this will now be "The Shelvey Show."
It started so well with his goal, but the brain freezes which helped Liverpool establish a lead before half-time are sadly still so prevalent in his game.
He set up Michu's equaliser, though, and that is a testament to the character of a player who won't forget the night in a hurry.
Liverpool fans will wish him well, but perhaps not wish him back into their team any time soon.
Daniel Sturridge Is Still Scoring
What a signing Daniel Sturridge has been for Liverpool.
Seventeen goals in 21 games isn't merely a hot streak, it is the sign of a player who is completely at home in his surroundings and one who looks like he can only get better.
Having profited from Shelvey's error to equalise so soon after the Reds had fallen behind, Sturridge ensured that Liverpool weren't going to feel sorry for themselves following the goal from their former colleague.
The header from Victor Moses' cross could have been better directed, but it is difficult to criticise a player in this sort of form and one who has done so well in Luis Suarez's absence that the Uruguayan will have to move positions when he comes back from his ban next week.
Sturridge simply can't be shifted.
The Book of Moses
Following hot on the heels of that Sturridge signing could be the loan move for Victor Moses, a deal which may well turn into one of the best signings of the summer.
Moses didn't sparkle in his overall play here, but he has an extra cutting edge and an extra something about him compared to the other men who occupy Liverpool's wide positions, with the exception of Philippe Coutinho, who hopefully isn't too badly injured here.
Moses benefited from good fortune when he picked up a loose pass from the headline-grabbing Shelvey, but the manner in which he drove on and dispatched a finish almost effortlessly will have Reds fans licking their lips.
Like Sturridge, the wide man looks to be a player who is longing for a stage on which to shine, and Liverpool might just have provided him with one.
The Case for the Defence Needs Examining
It was understandable that Liverpool were a bit shaky at the back throughout their night at the Liberty Stadium.
Their defence was without its longest serving member in the injured Daniel Agger, whilst the leadership qualities of Kolo Toure had to be confined to the bench due to fitness concerns.
Instead of them, the back four featured a talented youngster still on the raw side, a centre-back who many felt was headed for the exit door this summer and another making his debut in English football. In other words, when Jose Enrique is the man looked to for guidance, then you know you're in trouble.
In the event, Martin Skrtel played well—with the terrific goal-line challenge to deny a certain Wilfried Bony goal the highlight—whilst Andre Wisdom was as committed as ever.
Mamadou Sakho showed terrific levels of endeavour, but that frequently turned out to be a weakness as he slid in all too readily. He'll have learned from his English debut in Wales, without a doubt.
Daniel Agger will surely return against Southampton at the weekend if he's fit, whilst Toure looked sprightly enough when he came on.
Big decisions lie ahead for Rodgers.
The 2nd Half Slumber
Moses may have become the first man other than Sturridge to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool this season, but another trend is yet to be ended.
All of the Reds' five league goals this season have come in the first half of matches, and as against Aston Villa and Manchester United in their last two games they failed to create many openings in the second period again here.
That is something that Rodgers is surely going to be concerned about, as once again he watched his side retreat deeper and deeper into their own half as time wore on in the match.
Unlike in the previous three games, they were punished this time as Michu struck his side's equaliser, and the Reds—who were also 2-0 up against Notts County at half-time of their Capital One Cup tie only to be forced into extra-time—will need to sort out this problem if they are to progress in the manner they want.
Rodgers needs to do something different at the break, and quickly.
Still the Top Dogs
Any criticism of Liverpool following this display simply has to be met with a look at the league table.
With every side now having played four matches, the Reds remain on top and a point ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham whilst they have a three-point advantage on Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea. All of the other clubs named in this paragraph so far have lost a match this season whilst the Reds haven't.
Of course it doesn't really mean anything at this stage of the season, but given that Liverpool were in the middle of their worst start for 100 years at this point a year ago—when even the city's airport signs were mocking them—then can they not be allowed to enjoy it?
The Reds are at home to Southampton at the weekend, before league matches against the current bottom three and Newcastle before the end of October. They could conceivably win them all, or at least remain unbeaten.
Confidence should still be flowing then, and why not?
They survived this test, and right now they look up for anything else about to be thrown at them, with Hurricane Shelvey having now blown over.