The ball is now in Liverpool's court.
A day after the top three on the Premier League table—Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City—all won, Liverpool face Swansea City needing to keep pace if they are to remain viable title contenders. The Reds come into this contest unbeaten in their last seven games—and have only lost once and drawn once at Anfield—so they'll be heavily favored in this one.
Meanwhile, the Swans have taken just 12 of a possible 39 points on the road, so the task is tall. Let's break down this Premier League showdown.
When: Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET
Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET
Where: Anfield, Liverpool, England
Watch: NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra; BBC One
Chances: Liverpool (60.7 percent), Swansea City (17.9 percent) and draw (21.4 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have now combined to score 39 goals in Premier League play, which is more than 15 teams. Yes, 15 teams. It's hard to envision a Swansea side that has conceded 36 goals in league play slowing down that duo, or Liverpool in general.
And Swansea is exactly the sort of club that Suarez tends to pick on. From OptaJoe:
Swansea are 12th on the table. Uh oh.
But the Reds are no two-man show. Remember, the Reds have scored 66 goals as a team, second only to Manchester City's 69. So yes, Liverpool have firepower beyond their dynamic pair at forward.
They continue to get healthier as well. According to John Ley of The Telegraph, Glen Johnson is due to return from injury this week, while both Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva are recovering from knocks nicely. Jose Enrique appears to be a long way off returning, however.
For Swansea, Michu will again be out of commission.
Liverpool have a title in their sights, but the real goal is to earn a top-four place on the table and Champions League football. And manager Brendan Rodgers, when asked, said he felt his team could compete with the Champions League clubs around Europe, per Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph:
Yes, I would have confidence in saying that. Our performances and results have shown that. Even in the cup game last week you look at the reaction from Arsenal. You could sense that they felt they were playing against a very good side. I spoke to Arsène after the game. He and his staff said they felt we were the most dangerous attacking team they had played all season, which is a great compliment when you think of some of the games they have played in.
I didn’t go to any of the games in midweek but I watched it all. I have certainly been to a few over the course of the season, such as Schalke against Basle in Germany and some of the games here in England.
I think we have shown in our performance level that we are as good as any of the [English] sides this season. We just need to do it over the next 12 games and prove it on the field. If we do that it will take us to that level. It is a competition that this club has a wonderful history in. It’s a level that we want to get back to.
Of course, Liverpool need to finish in the top four first. And these are the types of games they need to win to ensure they do so.
Liverpool have too much firepower and are too good at home to lose this game, though crazier things have happened. The Swans haven't lived up to expectations this season, and it's hard to imagine them becoming the third team to steal points at Anfield.
Expect Liverpool to keep pace with the title contenders. The Reds win, 3-1.
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