Anfield draw run could continue as Liverpool host Swansea
Liverpool’s Boxing Day victory at Burnley was their first clean sheet in five across all competitions, and they have drawn their last three matches at Anfield. That makes Swansea City, a side that have failed to score just once in their previous 13, tempting at 11/4 with Coral to take a share of the spoils from their trip to Merseyside.
Brendan Rodgers continues to have problems at either end of the pitch, but the Reds are still odds-on and very short 4/6 favourites to send his former club, the Swans, back to south Wales with nothing.
This is a price punters should be very reticent about taking, because of Liverpool’s dearth in attack, subsequent over-reliance on Raheem Sterling and defensive frailties. Rodgers’ cause is not helped by the continued absence of Dejan Lovren, Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan at the back.
You can add Australian stopper Brad Jones to those on the treatment table now, meaning Simon Mignolet’s ‘indefinite’ dropping lasted little more than three games.
While the Reds have failed to improve on a poor defensive record, despite switching to a back three, Swansea manager Garry Monk has the luxury of rotating his players if he wishes. The visitors are 9/2 outsiders to take all three points, and did so impressively against Arsenal winning 2-1 in November.
Monk’s main selection dilemma is who leads his attack. Wilfried Bony will soon depart for international duty with the Ivory Coast bidding to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea. That notwithstanding, the festive football comes thick and fast, so making changes is essential.
Bony, who converted a penalty at Anfield in a thrilling 4-3 defeat last term back in February, has three in his last four away outings, and is a 7/4 anytime chance.
With loan signing Nelson Oliveira ineligible until New Year’s Day, the striking alternative is French target man Bafetimbi Gomis, who grabbed the winner against Arsenal, and is a better 2/1 in the same market, or 7/1 shot to score last again.
Former Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey netted home and away in this fixture for the Swans last term, so is also worth considering to strike again anytime at 7/2. Summer signing Jefferson Montero has a hamstring problem, so Monk may recall Wayne Routledge.
Italian forward pair Mario Balotelli (even-money in the anytime market after scoring in the League Cup win against this opposition back in October) and Fabio Borini (7/4) are both available to Reds boss Rodgers for this Monday Night Football match.
Sterling, who has three in as many games, may still be preferred as the nominal striker, however, and he features in an enhanced 5/2 wincast. Punters that fancy Liverpool to beat Swansea should take this price, but please note there is a maximum stake of £20 on this matchday special.
A score draw of 1-1 is an appealing 6/1 shot, especially as the hosts are short in defence and Rodgers is persisting with a system that does not seem to suit them. Back a share of the spoils for Monk’s men against the old Swans boss.