To mark the granting of official status, the Muscat Reds have decided they will be having a celebration on the 2nd March to coincide with the Wigan game, featuring local hero and Omani goalkeeper, Ali Al Habsi. We will be presenting the certificate of official status to the new General Manager of the Hyatt! Hopefully there will be merchandise supplied by Standard Chartered to raffle at half time, and local press to document the event. So please make sure you all mark it in your diary…including Sean’s invisible friend “DM”
Bahrain Reds have just passed 1,000 fans on Facebook and could become the biggest Facebook group in the Middle East…if they can overtake Muscat!
Qatar Reds now have their own dedicated TVs in the Shehrezade bar, Radisson, either side of the LFC shirt signed by the Under 18 squad, and framed with the certificate of official status. (see the photo) Hopefully this will encourage all LFC fans to sit in the same area, and should make the fan experience even better…so now when you enter the bar, there should be no more searching for other Reds!
Liverpool return to action with a home clash against Swansea on Sunday. The Reds will aim to avenge the 3-1 Capital One Cup defeat they suffered at the hands of the Swans in October in front of the Kop.
The 0-2 defeat against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield last Monday evening was our first home loss since the 1-3 reverse against Aston Villa back in mid-December and our fourth home defeat of the campaign, adding to defeats against Arsenal and Manchester United. It was also the third consecutive game where we’ve conceded two goals, while in the 17 games where we’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in the league, 14 of those have seen us concede at least two goals in each match.
Liverpool currently sit two places and one point below 7th placed Swansea and the sides played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture back in November. The corresponding fixture last season also ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The Reds have failed to win any of the last four matches against Swansea in all competitions but the Swans have yet to win at Anfield in the league in 11 attempts prior to this match.
The match-day official for this fixture is Howard Webb, but as we are not facing his paymasters Manchester United, we should have a well officiated game.
Defenders: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Midfielders: Lucas, Gerrard (c), Henderson
Strikers: Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez,
It is getting very difficult to predict the teams as Rodgers switches formations and favourite players. In central defence, Coates seems to have been frozen out, and has been very poor when chosen. Carra seems to have forced his way back into the team, but he is even slower than last season, and with counter attack our Achilles heel, he is the worst choice for speed. Robinson and Flanagan seem to be the few youth players that haven’t thrived under BR, and are yet to make an impact this season. Finally, I expect Johnson to start over Wisdom.
In midfield, many players had poor games on Thursday, but Allen and Sterling did themselves no favours with anonymous outings. Shelvey seems to be the scapegoat for the poor games against Stoke and WBA, so is likely to be benched again, whilst Henderson seems to get steadily better and will probably start with Gerrard and Lucas our 2 most reliable performers.
With Sturridge fit and available, I expect Borini to stay on the bench and let our most lethal goal scorer lead the line, fed by the unpredictable Suarez. The only question in my mind is who the third man in attack will be…Suso seems to be falling out of favour, and although Downing has had a renaissance, I hope to see an unlikely home debut for Coutinho.
Liverpool’s overall league record against Swansea City:
Total – P: 23 W: 10 D: 10 L: 3 F: 51 A: 28 GD: +23
Home – P: 11 W: 8 D: 3 L: 0 F: 33 A: 5 GD: +28
Away – P: 12 W: 2 D: 7 L: 3 F: 18 A: 23 GD: -5
Alan A’ Court has made the most appearances for Liverpool in this fixture with 15, scoring five times, and Jimmy Melia struck seven times in just 11 appearances against Swansea. Ian Rush is our most prolific scorer however, with eight goals in just six appearances against the Swans. Roger Hunt also enjoyed playing against Swansea, scoring eight times in seven appearances.
Joe Allen’s £15m transfer made him only the second player to have signed for the Reds directly from Swansea, following in the footsteps of Desmond Palmer who made the move in March 1959. Nine Reds have made the move to Wales, including legends John Toshack (1978; free transfer), Tommy Smith (1978; free), Ian Callaghan (1978; free), Ray Kennedy (1982; £160k) and Jan Molby (1996; free).