Liverpool host struggling Swansea City at Anfield on Sunday hoping to kick on from their 4-1 demolition of Manchester City last weekend in what was arguably Jurgen Klopp’s finest moment so far.
Whether it is a watershed moment in the Klopp era or a false dawn, one thing is certain: Liverpool, on their day, can be exceptional and their obliteration of Manchester City proved that.
The Reds, to a man, were superb last Saturday evening as a wonderful high-energy pressing tactic for the entire 90 minutes saw them demolish the title challengers. It was 4-1 but it could and should have been far more emphatic.
It was a victory made all the more remarkable given that Klopp’s side had lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace at Anfield in the previous game. They may be a bit Jekyll and Hyde, but few can cope with them at their monstrous best.
Klopp was brash in his first press conference, predicting that he would deliver at least one Premier League title before he leaves Merseyside – the words of a manager with an unflinching belief in his own ability. With two Bundesliga crowns on his CV, why not?
Given that he has already masterminded comfortable wins away to champions Chelsea and City with a team assembled by his predecessor Brendan Rodgers, it is difficult not to believe his title promise.
This season, though, Champions League qualification is the aim. As it stands, Liverpool sit six points adrift of the top four. Their home form remains suspect, with Klopp drawing one and losing one of his first two league games at Anfield, but surely that will fall into place. Sunday is as good a day as any to open his account at home.
Last weekend’s 2-2 draw at home to top-flight new boys Bournemouth will have done little to help Monk’s cause. With just one victory since August, it can be no surprise to learn that Monk is odds-on favourite to be the next sacked Premier League manager.
“I think one result or one good performance can change your whole mentality,” the 36-year-old was quoted as saying by Wales Online during the week. He certainly needs one of those at Anfield on Sunday evening.
However, the manner of the point against Bournemouth last week has given rise to suggestions that Swansea are not hanging their young manager out to dry just yet.
City, whose last victory came against bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa in October, found themselves 2-0 behind with 26 minutes played at the Liberty Stadium, but Andre Ayew reduced the arrears before Jonjo Shelvey equalised from the penalty spot on 39 minutes.
Under the circumstances, it will have certainly felt like one point earned rather than two dropped, but it was also a sign that perhaps he has not lost the support of his players. He cannot afford to.
Visiting Liverpool is the first in a trilogy of tricky fixtures for the Swans, who host top-of-the-table Leicester City next week, before then facing Manchester City on December 12.
Five points separate Swansea from the relegation zone as it stands. Monk, for the first time in his blossoming managerial career, needs that big result he referred to during the week. Anything less and it could be the beginning of the end for him in South Wales.
Sturridge is unlikely to feature on Sunday after suffering a setback as his long-awaited first game under Klopp looks poised to go on, while captain Jordan Henderson is still a bit away from first-team action.
Lucas Leiva has been one of Liverpool’s most impressive players under the German so far, but suspension means that Joe Allen is likely to displace him in the first XI.
Martin Skrtel sat out the 2-1 Europa League win over Bordeaux through illness, and Kolo Toure could continue alongside Dejan Lovren – who has deputised for the injured Mamadou Sakho – in the middle of defence.
Meanwhile, Swansea City midfielder Shelvey will miss the visit to his former club as he also serves out a one-game ban this weekend.
Up front, Monk must decide whether to stick with Eder or bring back Bafetimbi Gomis, who has not scored since August.
Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno; Allen, Can, Milner; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino
Swansea City possible starting lineup:
Fabianski; Naughton, Bartley, Williams, Taylor; Ki, Britton; Ayew, Cork, Routledge; Eder