Swansea v Liverpool: Swans desperate for survival boost
If Bob Geldof is right that “mankind at its most desperate is often at its best” then Swansea supporters can adopt a sanguine demeanour, confident that Carlos Carvalhal’s Premier League strugglers are destined for an upturn.
While tomorrow’s clash with Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium does not verge into muck or nettles territory quite yet, the need for the Swans to enact a rescue package intensifies with each passing week.
Swansea are rooted firmly to the foot of the table, six points adrift of Stoke in 17th and safety, with 15 matches between now and the end of the season to preserve their top-flight status.
It is by no means impossible. Crystal Palace lost their opening seven showdowns of the season without scoring a goal and were declared a lost cause, only for them to be sitting in the relative grandeur of 13th place, three points clear of the drop zone, 17 matches later.
A showdown with Liverpool, who are unbeaten in 18 games and have just destroyed the Manchester City myth of invincibility, is probably not going to be the defining moment of their struggle.
Their fixture list from 24 February reads: Brighton, West Ham, Huddersfield and Southampton, with West Brom to come after a trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. It is not unreasonable to suggest redemption, or otherwise, beckons here.
But it does not look good for Swansea whichever way you look at it; bottom of the pile not only in terms of league position but also for goals scored (14), shots (196), shots on target (52) and goals from inside the penalty area (12).
If there is a straw to clutch at, however, then Liverpool do appear to have stirred something of a survival instinct within Swansea during recent campaigns.
The Welsh outfit dismantled Jurgen Klopp’s men, albeit a much-changed Reds side, in May 2016 during the ill-fated spell of Italian Francesco Guidolin – a win which ensured their Premier League survival.
Perhaps more poignantly, having won just two matches in their last nine – they enter the clash on the back of the same run of form – the Swans conjured victory at Anfield on this very weekend 12 months ago. That triumph preceded an ultimately successful battle against the drop for Paul Clement’s team.
Liverpool were in pretty patchy form at this stage last term – the antithesis of now – but if the past really does influence the future then perhaps Swansea have a glimmer of hope and tomorrow will be the day the tide starts to turn for real.
Be warned, however: we all know Geldof’s feelings about Mondays.