Liverpool-Swansea City Preview

JEFF FLETCHER (STATS European Editor)
The Associated Press

Liverpool travel to play Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Monday hungry for points to help their push for Champions League football next season.

The Swans (11-7-10) are ninth in the Premier League table on 40 points from 28 matches and will be keen to return to winning ways after losing 3-2 at Tottenham in their last top-flight game on March 4. Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson scored for Swansea at White Hart Lane but couldn't prevent the Welsh side from suffering their 10th league defeat of the campaign.

Swansea boss Garry Monk expects a tough test against Liverpool but insists his side can upset the Merseysiders.

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"We've got a confident group and a great team spirit, which has carried us through this season," Monk told his club's website. "We have to be fully focussed for Monday night because we want to finish the season strong.

"They're pushing for the top four, but we have our own agenda. Our next target is to beat our best-ever total of 47 points, and we've got a great chance of doing that. We are going to push and fight for the three points to get us another step closer. It's important we get on the front foot and get the crowd behind us."

The Reds (15-6-7) are the only side in the Premier League without a loss in 2015. They won their last four top-flight matches and are unbeaten in 12 (9-3-0).

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who spent two years as Swansea manager, is confident the Reds can maintain their excellent recent form against his former club.

"We go into a run of games now, starting with Swansea, and we feel we can go in and push on in terms of our level of performance again," Rodgers told his club's website. "I know as well as anyone that it's a very tough place to go. They've got great support. The pitch is normally wonderful.

"If you're a team that wants to do well, you have to be able to have that character, resolve and mentality to win away from home. We've got great counter-attack speed when the space does open up and we've got technically-gifted players who can play in the spaces. We're in a good moment, but we respect it'll be a very difficult game at Swansea."

The Merseysiders are in fifth place on 51 points - two behind fourth-place Manchester United, who play Tottenham Hotspur at home on Sunday. Spurs would leapfrog Liverpool into fifth if they beat United at Old Trafford.

Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis should be available after fainting on the pitch during the defeat at Spurs. The French striker has since been given the all-clear to return to training. Swans defender Kyle Bartley is still sidelined following knee surgery.

Liverpool will be boosted by news that skipper Steven Gerrard, who is to join Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy in the summer, has declared himself fit to return to action after missing his side's last seven matches due to a hamstring injury. Defenders Martin Skrtel (head) and Mamadou Sakho (hip) are expected to be fit, but midfielder Joe Allen (hip) is doubtful.

The Reds beat Swansea at Anfield in late December in this season's reverse league fixture. It took 33 minutes before Alberto Moreno broke the deadlock and Adam Lallana netted six minutes into the second half to double the Reds advantage. Sigurdsson scored a minute later to get the Swans back into it, but a second Lallana strike on the hour mark and Jonjo Shelvey's own goal 20 minutes from time settled the match. Liverpool outshot Swansea 21-11.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six matches against Swansea in all competitions, winning four of them. Overall, the two sides have met 36 times in league and cup clashes, with Liverpool winning 19 times, Swansea nine and eight have been drawn.

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