Fearless Swansea seize the day against Liverpool

Liverpool 2 Swansea 3

Fearless Swansea seize the day against Liverpool

When you have been sacked from your first managerial job after just eight months, it takes a certain kind of mentality to come back for a second go.

There has been much debate about whether Clement was treated harshly when Derby dismissed him 11-and-a-half months ago.

Having returned to employment as Bayern Munich’s assistant manager, he would have been well justified to enjoy a more comfortable life at the top of the Bundesliga.

Instead, he chose to take the leading role at a club deep in relegation trouble, and who have sacked two managers this season. Some might call it foolhardy. Yet Saturday’s win at Anfield suggested that Clement might just have made the right call.

“Even the experience at Derby was positive for me,” Clement said. “It wasn’t perfect. But there were a lot of things that I learned.

“If I hadn’t gone through that experience, I wouldn’t be so well prepared for this one, but already I feel good here. I felt good in the role of head coach before and when I went back to Bayern I had a brilliant experience. But I knew I wanted to be a head coach.”

Clement has not taken on an easy job. Swansea, famed for stability as they rose from League Two to the Premier League in six years, have rather lost their way over the last few months, both on and off the pitch; an American takeover last summer alienated the club’s supporters’ trust, which owns a significant chunk of the shares yet feels it has not been consulted properly over a series of key decisions.

One of those decisions, the appointment of former United States head coach Bob Bradley in November, backfired horribly; it is the reason there was a vacancy for Clement to step into.

On the pitch, the new manager inherited the Premier League’s leakiest defence and has had to move to try to stop Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson, his two best attacking players, leaving during the January transfer window.

In the midst of all that chaos, it was asking a lot of Swansea to win at Liverpool, a team who had not lost a home league game for more than a year. Yet Clement’s players, bolstered by impressive displays from debutants Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll, answered the call.

They were solid in the first half to frustrate their opponents, adventurous at the start of the second to score twice through Llorente and then, after Roberto Firmino’s two goals had levelled the scores, spirited enough to find a winner through Sigurdsson.

The team who started the match in 20th place had won away against the team in third. It is not the sort of result the Bundesliga generally throws up.

“That’s a fair comment,” said Clement, who has a strong working knowledge of Europe’s top leagues, having assisted Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, as well as at Bayern.

“It’s a question I would get asked when I was in France, Spain and Germany — you don’t tend to get so many shock or surprise results. That is what makes this league so exciting and special. Anyone can go anywhere and win, lose, or draw.”

If there is one man who knows about turning a major European league upside down, it is Jurgen Klopp, the man who took Borussia Dortmund from 13th place to the German title in three years.

Klopp cut his teeth as an underdog, and would have been more aware than anyone at Liverpool of the possibility of being bitten when least expected.

His pain at the defensive lethargy of his team’s display was clear for all to see. They were unlucky to score only twice, as Lukasz Fabianski saved well from Divock Origi, Adam Lallana looped a shot against the top of the bar and a host of other chances came and went in a frantic second half.

They were not, though, unlucky to concede three.

It raised the question as to whether Klopp should be spending some money on his defence during this transfer window.

“I understand it is absolutely normal, people ask whether we should have brought players in,” Klopp said. “The situation is yes, on the one side pretty simple, but on the other hand it is pretty difficult.

“It is not that we don’t want to bring players in. We do. But the thing is, the players we want because we think they help us, the clubs don’t sell. It is not about money in this situation, it is the winter transfer window. Clubs are saying: ‘No we have half-a-year to go, we cannot find another player like this. We prefer to take money in the summer, than a few pounds more in the winter.’ So it is pretty easy.”

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Mignolet 6; Clyne 5, Klavan 5, Lovren 5, Milner 6; Henderson 5, Can 5 (Origi 71, 6), Wijnaldum 6 (Matip 90); Lallana 7, Firmino 8, Coutinho 6 (Sturridge 57, 6).

Substitutes not used: Karius, Moreno, Lucas, Woodburn.

SWANSEA (4-5-1): Fabianski 8; Naughton 7, Fernandez 7, Mawson 8, Olsson 8 (Rangel 79, 7); Routledge 7, Fer 7 (Fulton 90), Cork 7, Carroll 8, Sigurdsson 8; Llorente 8 (Baston 85).

Substitutes not used: Nordfeldt, Amat, Dyer, McBurnie.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicester).

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