Premier League - Liverpool held by gutsy Swansea

Sat, 05 Nov 16:58:00 2011

Liverpool were left frustrated as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Swansea City in their Premier League clash at Anfield.

Liverpool 0 Swansea 0

Striker Andy Carroll again partnered Luis Suarez, and the forward was profligate in squandering a glorious chance early in the first half in what was an inauspicious and frustrated showing which summed up his side.

Swansea had the best chance in a frenetic final passage of play as Mark Gower fired over the bar from close range, while keeper Michel Vorm pulled off a string of inspired saves as the visitors clung on for a deserved point.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish named an unchanged team for Swansea's first visit to Anfield for more than 21 years with Jamie Carragher having not recovered from a calf problem, while Brendan Rodgers made just one change from the line-up which started the 3-1 victory over Bolton with Wayne Routledge replacing Scott Sinclair.

The hosts should have been in front as early as the eighth minute as Stewart Downing hurtled down the left and whipped over a stunning delivery across the six-yard box, only for Carroll to inexplicably side-foot against the crossbar.

The £35 million forward's miss was also the 11th time Liverpool had struck the crossbar already this season.

Swansea enjoyed their fair share of possession as the visitors looked to break on the counter-attack at every opportunity, and Liverpool never looked in control of the match in an open first half in which both goalkeepers excelled.

Pepe Reina pulled off a very fine save to deny Danny Graham in the 27th minute, whose faint touch from close range demanded a reflex stop from the keeper following a mesmerising run and precise dinked cross from Routledge.

At the other end, Vorm equally distinguished himself with a magnificent diving save two minutes later after Suarez had swivelled sharply on the edge of the Swansea box and unleashed a fierce low strike which looked destined for the bottom corner of the net.

Dalglish introduced Dirk Kuyt at the break in place of the ineffectual Jordan Henderson, while Rodgers appeared to urge his side to play at a higher tempo at the start of the second half, which the visitors duly did.

It was a scrappier affair after the restart as Liverpool's play in particular was rushed and rather frenetic.

The previously assured Reina was almost caught out horribly as he received a back pass from Jose Enrique and proceeded to get the ball stuck under his feet and dally, only just managing to slice the ball clear in the nick of time as Graham swooped down on him.

Swansea enjoyed a very fruitful spell after the hour mark as Nathan Dyer raced in behind Martin Skrtel and turned the through ball from Leon Britton on target, with Reina taking a big gamble to fly a long way off his line to block the shot.

Seconds later, Reina pulled off a brilliant double save as Swansea continued to dominate: Dyer drove a low shot on target to draw the first save from the Spaniard, before Graham was thwarted as he looked to convert the rebound.

Swansea continued to frustrate their hosts with very assured spells of possession as the home fans grew increasingly anxious, and it was an agonised reaction which followed as Vorm flew off his line and failed to deal with a corner, but Daniel Agger's looping header drifted narrowly over the crossbar.

But it was Swansea who wasted the best chance of the final stages as the visitors broke at pace with Graham heading Dyer's dinked cross back across the Liverpool box, but the onrushing Gower blasted his shot over the bar with just six minutes left.

A desperate passage of play ensued as substitute Kuyt had a goal disallowed after a close-range finish, but replays showed that assistant Sian Massey ruled correctly as the through ball was played from Agger.

Vorm pulled off another couple of fine saves as he denied first Suarez, then Johnson, with stunning reflex stops from powerful strikes and, while Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions, Swansea were left to celebrate their second point away from home.

Dan Quarrell - follow on Twitter: @danquarrell / Eurosport

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