Liverpool frustrated by Michel Vorm's inspired saves for Swansea City
Swansea deservedly gained only their second away point in the Premier League with a performance that had the Anfield crowd cheering them off at the final whistle.
The Welsh team were indebted to Michel Vorm, Holland's No 2 goalkeeper, for two outstanding saves at the death, but the quality of their football merited a point. For Liverpool a disappointing result and poor performance left them looking anything but title contenders.
Both teams started without key players. Steven Gerrard is still troubled by an infected ankle wound and Swansea's Scott Sinclair had tweaked a hamstring, forcing him to drop down to the bench. It was Liverpool who missed their man most, with Sinclair getting on after 74 minutes.
That said, they ought to have been ahead after six minutes, when Stewart Downing's inviting cross from the left was smacked against the crossbar by Andy Carroll who, unattended seven yards out, should have scored. After that Luis Suárez, the Kop's latest hero, was an intermittent threat, but the Swans defended assiduously and used their pace on the flanks to turn Liverpool's back four on the break.
They might have scored against the run of play after 28 minutes when Wayne Routledge's penetrative run and well-directed left-wing cross was met by Danny Graham, whose first-time shot brought a notable reflex save from Pepe Reina. By way of response, Suárez tested Vorm with a low drive that had the Dutch goalkeeper sprawling urgently to his right.
Back came Swansea in tit-for-tat fashion, with Joe Allen's shot from 19 yards tantalisingly close. In search of improvement, Kenny Dalglish sent on Dirk Kuyt in place of Jordan Henderson for the second half. Not for the first time this season, the £18m recruit from Sunderland had been anonymous.
That desired improvement was not forthcoming and the home crowd became increasingly disgruntled. Their mood hardly improved when Nathan Dyer's persistence demanded back-to- back saves from Reina and Swansea claimed in vain for a penalty when Leon Britton's run was obstructed by Daniel Agger.
Soon Carroll, again looking vastly overpriced at £35m, was withdrawn in favour of Craig Bellamy.
Graham contributed again as he nodded down Dyer's cross to Mark Gower, who should have hit the target instead of blasting over from near the penalty spot, but then Liverpool threw the kitchen sink at it in search of the winner, only to be denied by Vorm.
Kuyt beat him with a diving header at close range, but from an offside position. Then the Dutchman thwarted Suárez and Johnson with outstanding saves.
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