Shelvey plays saint and sinner against Liverpool
Former Liverpool player scored one, gave away two and set up the equaliser
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge celebrates after scoring as Jonjo Shelvey shows his dejection during last night’s Premier League match at Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales. Photograph: Getty Images
Liverpool lost their 100 per cent record but Daniel Sturridge kept his and the England striker’s fourth goal in as many games helped to take his team back to the summit of the Premier League after a thrilling rollercoaster ride against improving Swansea.
Sturridge will be the focus of media attention, a week after missing England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, but he was joined in the spotlight last night by Swansea’s Jonjo Shelvey who, playing against his old club, scored the first goal after only two minutes, gave away two with ruinous passes and was booked for clashing with the equally competitive Lucas Leiva.
While the red legions were still digesting the changes to their line-up, which brought in Mamadou Sakho in place of Daniel Agger in central defence and Victor Moses to the exclusion of Iago Aspas in attack, both teams scored, leaving it 1-1 after just four minutes.
Swansea thought they had the initiative after two, when Shelvey got away from Sakho, only for the Frenchman to get in a recovery tackle that blocked the initial shot. Unfortunately for the defender, the ball fell back at Shelvey’s feet and he drove it handsomely past Simon Mignolet, right to left, from 12 yards.
Some initiative. Liverpool were level within a matter of seconds, with Shelvey’s night taking a horrible turn for the worse. His dreadful backpass gifted possession to Sturridge, who made it four goals in as many games with a crisp finish from 15 yards.
Shelvey, the erstwhile Liverpool midfielder now with Swansea, opined before the game that England should play more like the Swans. To which Roy Hodgson could reply that he would rather be on top of the table, as England are, than in the bottom three, where the Welsh club currently languish.
Almost absurdly open, play switched from end to end with a regularity more commonly associated with tennis, offering a glut of chances at both ends.
Wilfried Bony had Mignolet at full stretch from 25 yards, then the Ivorian fired over close in, Jordan Henderson saw a goalbound shot blocked by Ben Davies and Sturridge might have struck again when Moses’s left-wing cross set him up for a firm, downward header from six yards, which Michel Vorm repelled with his legs.
The next goal was therefore delayed until the 37th minute, when Shelvey was again left clutching his head in despairing hands. Another misplaced pass by Shelvey let in Moses, who ran to the edge of the D, from where he thumped the ball past Vorm’s right hand.
Mignolet’s save denied a Michu attempt from distance, Nathan Dyer was thwarted at whites-of-the-eyes range by Martin Skrtel’s bruising goalline intervention.
Shelvey’s topsy-turvy evening soon turned on its head once more as he surged forward to cushion a header into the path of Michu, who finished low to Mignolet’s right. Swansea took the game to their visitors during a frantic final quarter, with Jonathan de Guzman forcing a fingertip save from Mignolet, but an engrossing contest ended level.
SWANSEA: Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Ben Davies, Britton, Shelvey, Dyer (de Guzman 46), Michu, Routledge, Bony (Pozuelo 66). Subs Not Used: Amat, Tiendalli, Canas, Tremmel, Vazquez. Booked: Williams, Shelvey.
LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Wisdom (Toure 69), Skrtel, Sakho, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Coutinho (Aspas 55), Moses (Sterling 81), Sturridge. Subs Not Used: Brad Jones, Alberto, Ibe, Kelly. Booked: Lucas,Henderson,Wisdom.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).