Coutinho and Firmino star as Liverpool dismantle Swansea

Coutinho and Firmino star as Liverpool dismantle Swansea

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Liverpool, Coutinho, Sport
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp embracing Philippe Coutinho after a 5-0 win over Swansea FC.

Philippe Coutinho provided the style and compatriot Roberto Firmino the substance as Liverpool’s brilliant Brazilians dispatched rudderless Swansea 5-0 in clinical fashion at Anfield.

Things looked bleak for the Premier League’s bottom side, still searching for their next manager after sacking Paul Clement last Wednesday, when Coutinho curled home a superb sixth-minute opener.

The hosts’ sluggishness prevented Jurgen Klopp’s scoring further until early in the second half when Firmino volleyed in Coutinho’s free-kick before adding his second after Trent Alexander-Arnold drilled in a half-volley off the underside of the crossbar, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain firing in the fifth seven minutes from time.

It allowed Liverpool to regain fourth place after Tottenham’s victory earlier in the day but left Swansea five points from safety after a seventh successive away defeat.

Whomever comes in has a huge task on their hands turning around a side which has conceded 12 goals in four matches and scored just two but a quick decision is essential to prevent further separation from their fellow relegation candidates.

Under caretaker boss Leon Britton they did not have the game plan to cope with the creativity of Coutinho, Liverpool captain in the absence of the injured Jordan Henderson, and the movement of Firmino.

Coutinho’s moment of brilliance lit up an otherwise dull first half, scoring the 250th goal of Klopp’s reign, and it was a trademark finish.

Jordan Ayew stumbled in midfield to gift Firmino possession and in two passes the ball arrived at Coutinho’s feet via Mohamed Salah, with the Brazilian taking one touch to shift it out in front of his right foot and another to bend it into the top corner.

It was his 19th Premier League goal from outside the penalty area and only Steven Gerrard (33) has now scored more from distance for Liverpool.

That should have paved the way for the onslaught but what followed was a succession of shots from outside the area – none anywhere close to matching Coutinho’s magic – from the likes of Andrew Robertson, Emre Can and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It meant the visitors enjoyed a relatively easy opening 45 minutes, with their one chance a far-post header from Ayew which Simon Mignolet saved at the second attempt.

But in added time Roque Mesa almost threw it away by giving away possession to Salah and although his pass put Firmino clean through with only the keeper to beat he dragged his shot wide.

The Brazil international made up for that with a close-range volley from his compatriot’s free-kick seven minutes into the second half.

Liverpool could even afford top-scorer Salah’s radar to be off with two chances in the second half as academy graduate Alexander-Arnold smashed home a half-volley off the underside of the crossbar at the Kop end.

A minute later Firmino tapped into an empty goal from Salah’s square pass before Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the rout.

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