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Liverpool-Swansea City Preview
Liverpool are riding their best purple patch of the season, unbeaten in their last 18 matches across all competitions since a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur back on Oct. 22.
The Reds will try to extend that 13-5-0 run when they travel to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City on Monday night.
The attack has been the strength of Liverpool (13-8-2) all season with Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane leading the charge, but the dynamic of that attack will have to change after Coutinho completed a $142 million move to Barcelona earlier this month.
With Coutinho out of the fold, it will be up to Firmino, Mane and Salah to carry the attacking load, along with Adam Lallana, who is fit after missing most of the season due to injury. Salah has been one of the best signings Liverpool have made in recent windows as the Egypt international has scored 18 goals in Premier League play.
Liverpool will be flying high after ending Manchester City's 22-match unbeaten streak last week with a wild 4-3 victory at Anfield. Firmino, Mane and Salah all scored along with an opening strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Liverpool pushed out to a 4-1 second-half lead.
The challenge now, for the Reds will be to repeat that level of performance going forward.
"Every game is a new game. We have showed that we can beat Manchester City, a good team - one of the best in the league," said midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. "But we have to put in that performance every week. That's the biggest challenge we have. I don't want to say 'it says this about us' because every game is a new game and we have to perform."
Centre-back Virgil van Dijk, who joined the club at the beginning of the transfer window for a world-record £75 million fee for a defender, missed the City clash with a tight hamstring, but appears to be in line to return to the starting 11 on Monday.
Swansea City (4-5-14) find themselves at the bottom of the table on 17 points, but are 1-2-0 in their last three over all competitions and beat Championship side Wolverhampton 2-1 in a FA Cup replay this week.
Last time out in the league, the Swans earned a point away from home with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United. Swansea struck first on the hour mark through Jordan Ayew, but Newcastle battled back to equalise through Joselu.
"I don't know how many wins will we need, I have not counted, but maybe we must win 50 percent of the games we have left," new manager Carlos Carvalhal said. "So far we have played five games. OK, two of them were in the cup, but we have two wins, two draws and one defeat which was not a normal defeat. If we carry on like this in the Premier League, we can achieve what we want to achieve.
"We must believe in our hearts that we can do something. I try to give the players that feeling and I have the sensation that they can capture the belief I am giving them. They are better than they have shown in the past, and they are starting to show that."
Liverpool have scored at least twice in each of their last six Premier League away matches, one short of their record of seven between February and May 2014. Fourteen of Liverpool's last 15 Premier League goals in this fixture have been scored in the second half.
Firmino has scored five times in his last three league appearances against Swansea, including braces in each of the last two.
Updated January 20, 2018