Football

Reds sweat over Sterling's indiscretion

LIVERPOOL 4

(Alberto Moreno 33, Adam Lallana 51, 61, Jonjo Shelvey 69-og)

SWANSEA 1

(Gylfi Sigurdsson 52)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces an anxious wait to discover whether he may lose Raheem Sterling to suspension.

There is a likelihood the 20-year-old could be retrospectively punished for slapping Swansea defender Federico Fernandez on the head as the pair clashed in the Reds' 4-1 victory yesterday morning (Singapore time).

If that happens, it will be a big blow for the Reds, who showed yesterday in the Anfield annihilation that they are capable of challenging for a top-four spot in the English Premier League.

Already having lost Uruguayan Luis Suarez to Barcelona in pre-season, Liverpool are missing further bite in attack because of the long-term injury to Daniel Sturridge.

With the pair, Sterling formed a formidable partnership to lift Liverpool to the verge of the title last season, before eventually finishing as runners-up.

The Anfield faithful await news on whether their talisman will have to pay for his indiscretion.

SUSPENSION

Rodgers will already lose star defender Martin Skrtel to a one-match suspension after he accumulated his fifth booking.

But the loss of Sterling, currently playing as the focal point of the Reds' attack, could potentially be longer and more damaging.

Like the England star, Swansea's Jonjo Shelvey awaits a similar scenario after he appeared to fling an elbow into Emre Can's face in the first half.

However, the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes there will be no further action taken on either player.

"I have seen the two. The cameras will probably show it 100 times on Tuesday and we will get bored of watching it," he said.

"Young Raheem's incident, the centre-half has slapped him on the side of the head and he has put his hand up and slapped him on the side of the head.

"Jonjo has flung his arm out and caught Emre on the side of his head.

"I think the referee has called both right and got on with the game."

His counterpart, Swansea's Garry Monk agreed with that assessment.

Responding to a question on his player's clash with Can, he said: "There was a motion towards the player, but it's not clear.

"I spoke to Jonjo on the way home and he said his intention was not to catch the player at all.

"He said the player was tugging on him and he was just trying to push him away from him to move it.

"I don't think it was an intentional elbow at all and the referee was perfectly placed.

"No-one had a better view of the incident than him. He felt it didn't warrant any more action and the game went on.

"There were no complaints from any of the players afterwards, so you have to trust the referee made the right decision - and we thought that he did."

On Sterling's misdemeanour the Swans boss added: "It's the same situation.

"Yes, there is a motion towards Federico's face, but for me the referee and the linesman were the best placed people to see.

"The referee looked straight at it and decided it didn't warrant any action.

"Does it warrant a sending-off? Not for me, but again you have to trust that the referee's in the right place and doing the right thing."

Shelvey took to Twitter to defend himself.

He wrote: "Just wanna say I didn't intentionally elbow Emre Can - I was just trying to get my arm across to get round him.

"It's come off as if I'm trying to hurt another player and I can assure you that isn't the case. And I apologised to Emre Can for catching him."

However his former teammate at Liverpool offered a more damning indictment of the one-cap Englishman.

Said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher: "That's why he had to leave the club (Liverpool) - it's not down to ability.

"You'd see things like this two or three times a week in training - he has ill-discipline."

Overall it was rough night for Shelvey who also scored an own goal in the 69th minute in what proved to be the final goal of the game.

Incidents aside, the match marked an impressive two-goal performance from Adam Lallana.

The former Southampton man scored in the 51st and 61st minutes. His goals were sandwiched by Alberto Moreno opener after 33 minutes and Shelvey's gaffe. Gylfi Sigurdsson bagged the Swans only goal on 52 minutes.

- Wire Services.


Of course there is (belief Liverpool can secure a top-four spot). Especially because we’re finding performances now and we’ve had a couple of good results.

— Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana (above)

The threat is back for Liverpool and those three are creating it... When you look at the front three in the past five or six matches compared to how it was before, they’re getting more shots per game.

— Gary Neville (above) on Liverpool’s attacking trio of Raheem Sterling, Adam

Lallana and Philippe Coutinho Lallana and Coutinho are playing in a more advanced position behind Sterling and I think they’ve been outstanding. Those three have caused teams real problems... They were a real threat going forward, but they also did the dirty work as well in defending.

— Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson (above) on the attacking trio of Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho

By the number

15 goals

Liverpool's top EPL scorers Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana (four goals) have scored 15 fewer than the Reds' top goalscorer at this stage last season, Luis Suarez (19 goals).