Liverpool FC: 5 Key Players for English Premier League Match vs. Swansea City
The Reds put former manager Roy Hodgson's current side, West Brom, to the sword last weekend with a comfortable 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Charlie Adam (penalty) and Andy Carroll.
On Saturday, Premier League newcomers Swansea City are the visitors to Anfield. The Welsh side have had a good start to the season, winning three of their 10 games so far, putting them in 10th place, though, they have yet to take more than a single point from their away fixtures.
Here are the five Reds players who Liverpool will look to the most to ensure Liverpool take the maximum points from their latest home game.
Luis Suarez, Forward
Might as well get it out the way first: Liverpool will be wanting Luis Suarez to be on top of his game again as the club's most creative and aggressive attacking talent.
The Uruguayan has plundered seven goals this season in all competitions, and he will be hoping to add to that at the weekend against a defence which has shipped more goals away from home than any other this season—except Arsenal.
Andy Carroll, Forward
Statistically speaking, Liverpool have been better with Carroll and Suarez up front recently than without them paired together—but as we know, statistics can tell you whatever you want most of the time.
In real terms, Carroll's past two performances have been markedly improved, and he will need to continue this upward trajectory to both keep his place in the starting 11 each week and also to convince his detractors that he has a role to play for the Reds.
Swansea defender Ashley Williams is a powerful figure who will give Carroll a decent test, but Carroll should be high on confidence, and he will aim to find the net again this week.
Charlie Adam, Midfield
With Steven Gerrard sidelined again through an ankle infection, the burden of midfield creativity will again fall on the shoulders of Charlie Adam.
An improved outing last time around was largely thanks to the incredible amount of time and space West Brom's midfield allowed the Scot on the ball; neither he nor his Red teammates should expect the same from Swansea, who enjoy pressing the opposition higher up the pitch and trying to capitalise on a quick turnover of possession from midfield to launch their attacks.
Adam will need to show he can dominate midfield in these matches and pull the strings for the Reds in what will more than probably turn into an open game with plenty of players looking to get on the ball and pass it about.
Martin Skrtel, Defence
Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger played very well together against West Brom and will be asked to repeat the feat should Jamie Carragher continue to be ruled out with a calf injury.
Skrtel has been prone to lapses in concentration and making rash, unnecessary challenges for most of his Reds career, but he has also proven he is an able defender. And with Swansea forward Danny Graham in good goal-scoring form of late (at both ends of the pitch last week!), Skrtel will need to perform as admirably as he did last week, both aerially and in ground-level challenges.
Jordan Henderson, Midfield
With Stewart Downing struggling to recapture his best form on the left side of Liverpool's midfield, it will be important for the player on the opposite side to perform at least functionally and provide some ammunition to the front players.
While Dirk Kuyt may yet come back into the side, it is more probable that Kenny Dalglish will stick with a winning team, and Henderson performed reasonably well last week on the right side.
A few more occasions of linking up with his attacking teammates would not be disappointing, as Henderson certainly has the technical and physical attributes to be a threat but has so far found himself on the periphery of games too often.
Hopefully at Anfield on Saturday, if given the nod, he can push on and provide a more aggressive and effective performance from that flank.