Swansea City have been relatively lucky this season when it has come to injuries, with all three different managers usually having every player fit. Not one player has sustained a long-term injury which is quite remarkable, and it’s a testament to the medical, fitness and sports science staff at the club.
In his pre-match press conference, Guidolin revealed that striker Alberto Paloschi and loanee Leroy Fer will miss the game due to hamstring injuries, and the pair may miss the rest of the season.
The injury is especially a shame for Fer, as he was playing for a permanent deal at the club and up until now, fans haven’t been overly impressed with the Dutchman’s performance, and his consistency has been an issue despite being in the starting side most weeks.
Diamonds are Guidolin's best friend
With Paloschi missing due to injury, the choices for Guidolin are either to play Bafetimbi Gomis up front or use the infamous diamond formation. Gomis wasn’t in the squad to face Leicester City last week, and reportedly didn’t even make the trip despite being fit.
Guidolin doesn’t seem like the biggest fan of Gomis. He signed a striker in January and Gomis has only completed 90 minutes twice since the Italian arrived in South Wales.
This means a return to the diamond system Guidolin seems fond of is on the horizon, unless we see something drastic from the manager.
Defence in need of improvement
The Polish goalkeeper has played every minute of Swansea’s campaign this season, and despite conceding seven goals in two weeks that is unlikely to change.
The right-back had a very tough afternoon against Jeffrey Schlupp last week, where the Ghanaian seemed to have the freedom to fly past Rangel whenever he wanted, which played a part in several goals, primarily Leonardo Ulloa’s second. Despite this, Kyle Naughton hasn’t really challenged for a starting spot since Guidolin’s arrival and Rangel is likely to be preferred once more.
The Argentine has had a shaky couple of weeks, and seems to have switched off since the side reached 40 points. Fans have been angry at this but the players have achieved their goal that at one stage looked unrealistic and they deserve a rest. Fernandez will likely retain his place in the side though as he is a stronger option than Jordi Amat or Kyle Bartley, but a look toward the future in Joe Rodon wouldn’t anger the fans.
The skipper came under some criticism last week, for his part in Leicester’s first goal in which he misplaced a pass on the edge of his box, and it resulted in Riyad Mahrez putting the Foxes in the lead. Williams very rarely makes a mistake, and will be extremely eager to right his wrong by putting in a formidable performance against Liverpool.
Stephen Kingsley deserves to play, he really does. The Scotsman looks one of the more promising players coming through this youth side and while Taylor is rightfully a contender for Swansea’s Player of the Year, his form has dipped recently and a change is needed, even if it is just for the remaining games of the season to give the Welshman a rest.
Midfield needs rejuvenating
Cork didn't have the best of afternoons against N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater, but very few have this season. The midfielder has been Swansea’s most consistent performer this season and is deservedly in the running for Swansea’s Player of the Year award. He will likely retain his place in the side, especially with Fer’s injury.
The Swansea stalwart has been in and out of the side for the majority of the season, but especially with the injury to Fer he will probably retain his place like Cork.
He hasn’t often started two games in a row, with fitness concerns disturbing him for large parts of the season, and completed the entire 90 minutes against Leicester, something he hasn’t done since the draw against Crystal Palace over two months ago. These issues do make him questionable to start, but Guidolin didn’t bring up any concerns over his fitness in his press conference so there’s good reason to believe he will feature from the beginning.
It’s incredible the difference a year makes. This time last year, to suggest that Ki Sung-Yeung might not be in the starting XI would mean that he suffered an injury. Now the only reason he’s in contention to start is because someone brought in on loan in January got injured, and he still might not play because his form has been extremely poor.
Ki has played just seven times since Guidolin was appointed Swansea manager, and only completed 90 minutes once. His form before the appointment wasn’t any better and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sold come the next transfer window. If Matt Grimes wasn’t on loan at Blackburn Rovers, he would probably be starting over Ki. With any luck, Swansea Under-21 captain Jay Fulton will get the nod, but Ki is more likely to start.
Goals still an issue
It’s the diamond, once again. The pressure will probably be on Ayew to lead the line as the most experienced forward in the side, even though he’ll likely play as more of a wide-forward. There have been reports suggesting that the side will cash in and sell their star this summer, but he’ll probably start against a Liverpool side that could well be resting their key players.
It’s scary to think where Swansea would be right now if it wasn’t for Sigurdsson’s goals. Offensively, he has carried this team to the finishing line and it’s no surprise that the likes of Borussia Dortmund have been linked with him this week. It’ll be a shock if he doesn’t start tomorrow.
Jefferson Montero’s form has dipped once again; it seems the all the opposition have to do to nullify his threat is to double up on him when he’s on the ball. His left-flank partner being Taylor doesn’t help either as he doesn’t carry any threat going forward. With this role being more of a wide-forward than a winger, Routledge will probably be preferred as he has done more often than not this season.