Maybe someone might try to tell you otherwise, but come Sunday lunchtime, Liverpool will have their focus on meeting Villarreal CF in the Europa League semi-final second leg rather than trying to get three-points at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea City.
That’s just the reality of the situation; the Reds chances of securing European football next season through the league table has been minimal for some time now, but after dropping a two goal lead to Newcastle United at Anfield last weekend, it’s pretty much impossible. Sometimes you have to prioritize and this is one of those times.
For the most part, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been able to rotate his squad to great effect with wins over Stoke City and AFC Bournemouth coming immediately on the back of European nights and the German has already confirmed that he’ll be doing the same at the weekend.
“We could have started at two or four, so four hours more and that sounds absolutely okay. It is Sunday, all English people will have lunch and we play football,” said the Reds manager in his pre-match presser when asked about the early kick-off. “I am pretty sure no one slept immediately when we got home (in the early hours of Friday). It wouldn’t make sense to start with the same line-up. We need fresh legs and fresh minds at Swansea.”
Changes will be made, but considering out injury problems, there’ll only be so many. Reserve ‘keeper Adam Ward is almost certain to come in to the starting eleven, Brad Smith should replace Alberto Moreno on the left, Kevin Stewart is nailed on to partner either Joe Allen or Lucas in the middle and Daniel Sturridge, left on the bench during the loss at the El Madrigal on Thursday, will come up against Christian Benteke for a spot against the Welsh outfit.
French forward Bafetimbi Gomis, Ecudorian winger Jefferson Montero and South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng will all be available to Swans boss Francesco Guidolin, but the Italian will have to do without forward attacker Alberto Paloschi and midfield man Leroy Fer who will both be missing with hamstring injuries.
Much like their visitors, the Jacks don’t have a whole lot to play for except pride now that they’ve steered themselves sufficiently away from the relegation zone. With that being said, claiming themselves a Red scalp would be a nice way to put a cap on the season and claw back some dignity after being run over 4-0 by Premier League winners elect Leicester City last time out.
Klopp, of course, won’t be interested in giving them a helping hand. Maybe getting three-points isn’t the most important thing, but regaining the momentum after a last gasp, disappointing loss in Spain late last week handed the Reds their first defeat in the Europa League this season. With a spot in the final and the potential to qualify for the Champions League — not to mention claim a big, shiny, hunk of silver — on offer, the Swans won’t be the first thing on our mind. Sorry, but we’re not sorry; we’ve got bigger birds to fry.