Football Expert & Columnist
Jamie Redknapp tips Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool to edge out Swansea on Sunday
Inconsistent Liverpool could profit from a Swansea side with an upcoming cup final on their mind, says Jamie.
Last Updated: 16/02/13 11:01am
The Reds looked like they had turned the corner before the international break, impressing in 2-2 draws with Arsenal and Manchester City, but two defeats in four days, first to West Brom and then away at Zenit St Petersburg, has once again left Liverpool fans frustrated - and Rodgers' former side Swansea will be provide another difficult test on Sunday.
Liverpool have been consistently inconsistent this season - in fact, they have been inconsistent for the past few years, equally showing flashes of their potential and limitations - and no doubt Rodgers is scratching his head wondering what's going on.
Their 2-0 defeat at West Brom came out of the blue and must have broken so many coupons. I couldn't believe it. People have said Daniel Sturridge was missing but that isn't a good enough excuse to produce a performance like that.
The defending from Daniel Agger for both goals was awful - he didn't do well enough to stop the movement at the corner for the first and for the second goal he should have known he needs to give a player like Romelu Lukaku a yard because he's so powerful. And I didn't think the penalty awarded for a foul on Suarez should have been given either.
Before that match there was an excitement about Liverpool again and I felt they could push on and mount a challeneg for the top four. But that result has put them back, not only points-wise but also in terms of their belief.
Rodgers tried to talk about positives after the game, but I'm not sure there were any. And I'm not convinced by the idea of playing Luis Suarez on the left and Jonjo Shelvey as the main striker. Suarez has been in great form this season and he's their star striker, so you need to put him up front; you let teams off the hook if you don't put him up there where he belongs.
It looks like Rodgers has improved their forward options by singing Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho - although I feel the likes of Shelvey, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing need to chip in with more goals - but there is still a massive void defensively.
Agger showed his defensive frailties on Monday night and Liverpool have recently gone back to playing Jamie Carragher, who's retiring at the end of the season. They need to find a centre-back of real quality this summer because Martin Skrtel and Agger don't look like a strong partnership to me. I don't think they can rely on them next season.
Meanwhile, it's a great time to be a Swansea City fan.
When Rodgers left the Liberty Stadium last season everyone wondered whether his successor would be able to carry on his style and maintain Swansea's level. Well, Michael Laudrup has actually improved the Welsh side.
Yes, the arrival of Michu has obviously been a key factor in their excellent season to date, but they've also developed a pattern of play which allows them to be more direct when necessary.
They'll enjoy plenty of possession at Anfield on Sunday - they keep the ball so well - and that will frustrate the Liverpool players and fans alike. Rodgers will also be nervous about the quality Swansea possess. It's certainly going to be a difficult game for the hosts.
However, I just wonder whether the Swansea players will have half an eye on the Capital One Cup final, which takes place next weekend.
With that in mind I reckon Liverpool will just edge Swansea 2-1 - and they'll need that result to boost spirits at Anfield; it's been one step forward and two steps back recently.