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Liverpool stunned by lowly Swansea

Soccer

A week after inflicting Manchester City’s first loss in the English Premier League, Liverpool has lost to last-placed Swansea 1-0, ending their 18-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

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Alfie Mawson’s 40th-minute strike secured one of the most surprising results of the season on a night Liverpool’s usually lethal attack toiled at Liberty Stadium.

It was a far cry from Liverpool’s devastating display in their 4-3 win over runaway leaders City eight days earlier when Juergen Klopp’s team didn’t seem to miss the departed Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona for 160 million euros ($A243 million).

Liverpool could have done with Coutinho’s creativity against a Swansea side that defended stoutly and took their only real chance.

From a Swansea corner from the right, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk could head the ball only back into the danger area where it hit the shins of Federico Fernandez.

His central defensive partner, Mawson, shot on the turn from eight metres and it flew into the corner past goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Liverpool nearly grabbed an equaliser in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, when Roberto Firmino headed against the post.

Swansea stayed in last place but are tied on 20 points with West Bromwich Albion, three off safety.

Fourth-placed Liverpool are only two points ahead of Tottenham in the race to secure one of four qualification spots for next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool hadn’t lost in the league since October 22 when they suffered a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal revealed he motivated his players by telling them to grind Liverpool’s ‘Formula One’ football to a halt.

“If you put Formula One (cars) in London at 4 o’clock in traffic, (they) will not run very fast,” he said on Sky Sports, explaining what he told his team ahead of the game.

“That must be what we do against Liverpool – make them play the way they don’t like.”

Carvalhal said his players were “brave” and “real gladiators” to see out the victory.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, whose side thrillingly beat Manchester City 4-3 in their previous match, said on Sky Sports: “Last weekend is not what I’m interested in.

“We are frustrated. I’m frustrated, I’m angry, because it’s not necessary what we did today. But we cannot get the points back. It should feel really bad and it feels bad.

“We didn’t keep the positions we wanted to be in. We wanted to do it differently – obviously, it didn’t happen on the pitch.”

Klopp added: “The clearest chance we have in the last second, I don’t know how that didn’t go in.

“That wouldn’t have made the game any better, to be honest.

“At the end, it was not good enough.”

– AP

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