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Liverpool V Swansea at Anfield : Match Preview

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Updated 17 Feb 2013 01:53:44

Liverpool V Swansea at Anfield : Match Preview

Liverpool V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Enrique expects Suarez backlash

Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes striker Luis Suarez will be even more fired up against Swansea by his failure to find the net in the past three matches.

The Uruguay international was probably most culpable in the Reds' 2-0 Europa League last-32 first-leg defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in Russia on Thursday.

Manager Brendan Rodgers felt the 26-year-old could have had a hat-trick before half-time but Suarez was not at his sharpest, highlighted when he rounded goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev but could not get his shot away and then backheeled wide Raheem Sterling's cross from close range.

"Luis Suarez is a winner and he likes to win every game," said Enrique. "Of course he was really disappointed for the misses he had on Thursday but he is a key player and one of the best strikers in the world.

"Like everyone he is still a person who has mistakes and Thursday was not his day. But all the chances he has he makes all on his own."

Having scored nine goals in as many games the striker has now gone three matches without scoring, his second-longest run without a goal in what has been his best season for Liverpool so far. It may not seem a lot but his goals kept the Reds afloat earlier in the season and the burden on him was eased by the arrival of #12million signing Daniel Sturridge - ineligible in Europe - who has contributed four in six since his January move from Chelsea.

Sturridge is expected to return to the starting line-up for Sunday's visit of Rodgers' former club Swansea. His presence will be needed as in their past two matches, having been beaten at home by West Brom on Monday, Liverpool have not taken any of the numerous chances they have created.

It is a familiar frustrating story which has been played out over the past couple of season.

"It is happening to us a lot this year. We had our chances to score, like a lot of games this season," added Enrique. "I think we are doing well. The problem is, in the last three games (including the 2-2 draw at Manchester City) we have been trying to score goals and had chances to score and then we have had mistakes.

"We have to improve in defence and in attack do what we are doing and hopefully we will have better luck."

Daniel Agger, after criticising his own performance in Monday's 2-0 league defeat to West Brom on Twitter, did not travel to Russia but Rodgers has indicated the defender will be involved against the Swans.

Ki Sung-yueng has praised the ability of Joe Allen as the Liverpool midfielder prepares to face his former club.

Allen left the Liberty Stadium in a #15million summer switch to join the Reds, with Swans boss Michael Laudrup opting to bring in Ki from Celtic as a replacement for the Wales international.

Allen started his career on Merseyside with a string of bright performances but has come in for criticism in recent weeks, and has largely been reduced to a bench role. Ki, meanwhile, has slotted in effortlessly alongside Leon Britton and Jonathan de Guzman in Laudrup's preferred midfield trio.

But, whatever flak Allen has had to take, Ki is in no doubt about the 22-year-old's class, and admits he has found it difficult to replace a player who was such a firm fans' favourite in south Wales.

"Joe is a very good player. I had watched him many times when he was at Swansea and I played against him in the Olympics too," Ki said. "He can pass, he can do the defensive work very well and he just knows how to play football.

"Sometimes people expect you to be better than Joe was when he was here, but I respect him too much to think like that. He is a good player in his own right with great qualities.

"We are different kinds of players. I am obviously bigger than him and we have different aspects to our game, but we are also similar in our way of thinking about the game and wanting to pass the ball. He is a very good player and hopefully I can show I am a good player here too."

Defender Chico Flores will miss out after rupturing ankle ligaments against QPR.

Kyle Bartley or club captain Garry Monk will get the chance to step into the Spaniard's shoes and stake a claim for a place ahead of the Capital One Cup final.

Midfielder Leon Britton could return from an ankle injury, while left-back Neil Taylor continues his recovery from a broken leg.


PA

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