Salah and Liverpool attack fail to click in 1-0 loss at Swansea
Beat the best and lose to the worst -- typical Liverpool. The vibrancy, desire and skill the Reds showed a week earlier was nowhere to be seen as they laboured against Swansea's 11-man defence and rarely looked like scoring -- and they didn't, in a 1-0 defeat. Conceding a goal to the opposition's only attempt of any note is also something Liverpool seem to be the masters of.
None whatsoever. An utterly abject performance and a missed opportunity to increase their lead over fifth-placed Tottenham.
Any time Liverpool fail to break down a blanket defence, the conversation will inevitably turn to the decision to let Philippe Coutinho leave for Barcelona, but the Reds should have had more than enough to win this game without the Brazilian. Too many of their creative players had off nights, and for all the possession Liverpool were allowed to have, Lukasz Fabianski had a relatively easy night.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Aside from Virgil van Dijk replacing the unwell Dejan Lovren, Jurgen Klopp kept faith with the same team that had performed so well against Manchester City last week, but it was evident from early on that it wasn't going to work. Swansea set up camp in their own half and Liverpool never looked like finding their way through. These are the games when Adam Lallana has to play and Klopp compounded that error by waiting far too long to change things. He had the opportunity to fix things at half-time, but the second-half performance was no better than the first.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Loris Karius, 6 -- The only thing he had to do all night was pick the ball out of his net after Swansea scored with their first attempt. Made a routine stop after the break, but was otherwise redundant.
DF Joe Gomez, 5 -- Had nothing to do defensively, so his job was to provide width and quality in attack, which he failed to do. That's not his strength and one can only wonder why the more attack-minded Trent Alexander-Arnold or James Milner were not introduced (or even included from the start).
DF Joel Matip, 7 -- The only player who performed at an acceptable level. It was not a game in which he was required to defend, so he tried to help out in attack and made numerous crisply hit passes into the feet of his forward players, as well as one or two surging runs into the box.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 5 -- One or two mishit clearances allowed Swansea to enjoy their only spell of possession in Liverpool's half, which ultimately led to the only goal of the game. The Dutchman didn't get enough distance on his headed clearance and the ball broke kindly for Alfie Mawson to find the bottom corner.
DF Andrew Robertson, 5 -- Produced one or two good deliveries from out wide, but overall did not do anywhere near enough with the amount of possession he had.
MF Emre Can, 5 -- Captain for the night. He started brightly and produced one great early ball to pick out Sadio Mane in the box, but became less influential as the first half wore on. Kept plugging away and snuffed out a couple of potential Swansea counterattacks, but wasted a good chance late on when he couldn't keep his shot down.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 4 -- Typical away performance from the infuriating Dutchman, who was as anonymous in this game as he was brilliant in last week's. Why even bother picking him away from Anfield?
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 5 -- Neat and tidy in possession and, unlike most of his teammates, he at least managed a shot on target. Didn't affect the game as much as he would have liked but can probably feel aggrieved that he was replaced before the ineffectual Wijnaldum.
FW Mohamed Salah, 4 -- Volleyed a great chance over the bar in the first half and just never looked like himself all night. His corner kicks were particularly bad.
FW Roberto Firmino, 5 -- Started the game poorly, and his touch just wasn't there at all in the opening 20 minutes. He never hides though, and gradually, he played his way into the game and began to look more threatening, but he failed to take the one chance that came his way in stoppage time when he headed against the post.
FW Sadio Mane, 4 -- Having shown signs of coming back into form, this was a game in which the Senegal man was expected to shine, but it was a night of frustration when nothing seemed to fall for him. He volleyed wide on the stretch just before half-time, but other than that, he was well shackled by the home side.
FW Adam Lallana, NR -- Lively in the time he was on the pitch. Arguably should have started, definitely should have been brought on much sooner. Desperately close to an equaliser but was brilliantly denied by a last-ditch challenge by Mawson.
FW Danny Ings, NR -- Brought on late and almost scored with a sharp turn and shot. Looked sharp.
Dave Usher is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.