LIVERPOOL maintained the pressure in the race for Champions League qualification as Jordan Henderson’s fortunate second-half goal saw off Swansea at the Liberty Stadium to seal a 1-0 win.
Henderson’s 68th minute winner – his sixth goal of the season and his third in successive Barclays Premier League games – had a slice of good fortune about it as Jordi Amat’s attempted clearance clattered into him, but Liverpool will not worry about that on a night when Swansea had them clinging on for large parts of the first half.
But Liverpool showed the resilience of a side which has not conceded away from home in the league since 14 December and grew in stature as the second half unfolded. The gap between themselves and fourth-placed Manchester United was cut to two points again before the pair meet in a huge Anfield collision on Sunday.
After Arsenal and United both won over the weekend Liverpool knew they could not afford slipping up in south Wales and they were boosted by the return of skipper Steven Gerrard to the matchday squad after missing seven games with hamstring trouble. But Gerrard started on the bench as Rodgers kept faith with the midfield and attacking personnel which has had served him so well in recent weeks and underpinned the performances which have made Liverpool the form team of 2015.
Joe Allen had shaken off a hip injury to feature against his former club and Martin Skrtel had recovered from the sickening fall which forced his withdrawal from Liverpool’s last game, the FA Cup quarter-final tie against Blackburn eight days earlier.
Gerrard was sent on after 64 minutes with Liverpool firmly in the ascendancy and he was soon celebrating a goal, even if it came in rather fortuitous fashion.
Skrtel advanced from the back and his pass squirmed through off Sturridge before Amat’s attempted clearance cannoned off Henderson and over the helpless Fabianski.
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