If you like your soccer to be free-flowing, full of chances and marked by several beautiful goals, the tilt between Liverpool and Swansea City was not for you.
While each side had its chances—namely Liverpool, who created far more opportunities than Swansea—the game ended in a justified scoreless draw, as neither side truly deserved to earn three points from this contest.
Liverpool was the stronger side in the first half and had the better of the scoring chances, marked by a Raheem Sterling blast that struck the top of the bar and a Jose Enrique goal that was disallowed on an offsides call.
Glen Johnson was the brightest star for Liverpool in the first half, and Joe Allen was nothing if not accurate on his passes, as Opta Sports noted on Twitter:
97% - Joe Allen completed 35 of his 36 passes for Liverpool in the first half vs Swansea. Prodigal.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 25, 2012
Though Liverpool was the stronger side in the first half, Swansea did well to at least hold 51-percent possession and keep the Reds off the board.
After a slow start to the second half, Liverpool began buzzing, dominating possession and chances and keeping Swansea on its heels. But again, Liverpool struggled to finish its chances and lacked the goal-scoring touch that has eluded the side for much of the season.
That was most apparent late in the game, when Sterling and Luis Suarez had a two-on-one as they streaked toward the goal. But Suarez played a pass to the speedy Sterling too early in the run, Sterling's immediate return pass was played too wide, Suarez had to veer off course and the defense was able to back into the play.
That led to a Suarez shot that barely tested the keeper and proved to be Liverpool's best remaining chance to get a goal.
Swansea will certainly take a point in a game where the team did well to keep Liverpool off the scoresheet but did little to threaten Pepe Reina. For Liverpool, it's another disappointing result, as three points were there for the taking but Liverpool couldn't break through.
Glen Johnson, Liverpool: A-
If there was a player of the match, it was Johnson, who was particularly brilliant in the first half. He had several scoring chances, set up a few more and generally looked a class above everyone else on the pitch.
But Johnson had three excellent scoring chances in the first half, failing to find the back of the net on a shooting opportunity and two headers off crosses that he pushed above the goal. He deserves credit for being incredibly active and dangerous in the first half, but he loses points for failing to capitalize.
Raheem Sterling, Liverpool: B
The youngster had some good chances and was threatening with his speed up the flank, but like Johnson, he couldn't finish. Plus, Sterling's wayward pass on the break to Suarez essentially nixed Liverpool's last good chance to earn three points.
Sterling has shown a lot this year, but his consistency is still a work in progress. That's to be expected from a teenager, of course.
Michu, Swansea: C-
Michu has been Swansea's best—or at least most threatening—player for much of this season, but he was largely a non-factor in this game. He didn't see a scoring chance until well into the second half, and he had a nice chance late in the game off a brilliant pass into the box that was blocked.
I might be nitpicking here, but on that opportunity it looked like he would have been better suited taking an immediate shot rather than taking a touch and allowing the defense to close. One way or the other, it was indicative of his afternoon and Swansea's attack in general.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool: Incomplete
I'm not exactly sure how to grade Suarez. When he had the ball or was given good service, he was his usual, threatening self. But the service often wasn't very good, leaving Suarez frustrated and neutralizing the one goal-scoring threat the Reds have.
This team desperately needs another striker, or at least a player who can threaten the goal to take some pressure off of Suarez. Early in the season, I wonder if Liverpool still thinks Clint Dempsey's price tag was too high...
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