THE high-flying Reds face a Swansea side with just one league win to their name this season at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. We spoke to Leon from Swansea City fanzine Jack Swan to get the lowdown on our upcoming opponents.
First, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
As far as I know, we’re the only free fanzine in the Premier League. We write about Swansea City Football Club, covering quite a big area — within about a 10 mile radius of the Liberty Stadium.
What are Swansea’s best and worst moments, from your memory?
My best and worst moments could probably be summed up by one man on his own. Jonjo Shelvey.
I think I’ll go with that…my best and worst moments are Shelvey’s best and worst moments against Liverpool.
Swansea are 17th having only won once so far, how has it gone so far?
Not good, at the moment. We don’t really know what our best formation is. We don’t have the right players to play the formations that we have played so far. We have too many defensive minded players on the field at once. We’ve got a big striker but often don’t play with wingers to give him any service.
The recruitment over summer wasn’t good and the manager doesn’t seem to have the backing of all the fans, or all the board. It’s just a bit of a mess at the moment, after being rosy and wonderful for 13 years. It’s hard work for us, right now.
What is the feeling like, among the fans, given how it’s gone so far?
It is downbeat, the most optimistic fan is hoping that we stay up this year. Finishing 17th would do us nicely.
Obviously, we had the takeover from the Americans over the summer — which Liverpool fans would know about all too well — so there’s a bit of upheaval at this point.
There are still some questions over the club that we don’t know the answer to. It’s an anxious time to be a Swansea fan.
Francesco Guidolin is the bookie’s favourite to be the next to be sacked, what is fan opinion like towards him?
It’s very split. It was a strange appointment in the first place, just because you felt that if he had a bad start the knives would be out quickly.
A lot of fans, rightfully, think that he hasn’t been given a fair chance and that the main problem has been the recruitment — which he didn’t seem to have much of a say in.
But there’s also a lot of fans that are questioning the decisions he’s been making, and he is making strange decisions at times — like playing a big man up top without any wingers and some of the formations he’s playing just don’t make any sense.
Jürgen Klopp is winning a lot of praise after his appearance on Monday Night Football, what do you think of the Reds’ manager?
He’s brilliant, isn’t he? I don’t think anybody has got a bad word to say about him. He’s great entertainment for the league, he’s obviously very good at his job and Liverpool have become — alongside Manchester City — the most exciting team to watch in the Premier League.
So yeah, he’s great for you and I’ve not got a bad word to say about him.
What have you made of Liverpool, based on what you’ve seen so far?
I watched the Hull game in full and they looked really, really good. The energy that they’ve got is phenomenal, whether they keep that up all season…god knows.
Roberto Firmino looks really important to you, if you take him out the side and put Daniel Sturridge in I don’t think it’s got the same energy — if you took one player out of that front six, then chances are it might not work as well all the time. But if they can keep fit and keep that group of players linking together then they’ve got a great chance.
Who will be the key players, for both sides, in Saturday’s game?
You’ve got loads of key players. Those attacking players, the like of Firmino, Phil Coutinho and Adam Lallana — who looks very impressive, at the moment — and Jordan Henderson deeper in midfield could have a field day against us.
From a Swans point of view, if I was the opposition, I wouldn’t want to see Modou Barrow on the teamsheet — and quite often he’s not. I think he could hold the key for us. Particularly because Liverpool press so much, so there’s potential there for counter attacking opportunities, Barrow is one of the only players from our side with the pace to hurt you if he gets chance.
Where are you expecting both sides to finish this season?
I’m struggling to be more optimistic than 17th. We’re a bad side, at the moment, hopefully there’s three sides that are worse than us but I can’t see it — Sunderland look bad, Hull look like they could be in trouble and Burnley look quite poor, but I couldn’t see us finishing above anybody else.
For Liverpool, City do look ominously good. But I think you’ve got a great chance of top four and then perhaps a chance to push on from there.
Finally, can you give us a score prediction for Saturday?
As you can sense, I’m not too optimistic! So I’ll go with 3-2 to Liverpool.