Liverpool’s sleepy first-half performance in their recent 2-1 loss at home to Manchester United was somewhat foreshadowed in the opening 45 of their previous Premier League fixture at Swansea, which the Reds won 1-0 thanks to a 68th-minute Jordan Henderson strike.
If Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis had some pace to compliment his obvious class, then Liverpool really would have been in trouble at the Liberty Stadium.
As it was, the some-time France international, plus teammates Jonjo Shelvey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, all stung visiting goalie Simon Mignolet’s palms, and Brendan Rodgers’ men clearly couldn’t get down the tunnel quick enough at half time.
Swansea left-back Neil Taylor was instrumental in stretching the play and providing an outlet for the hosts’ attacks down the flanks during their doomed attempt to keep all three points in the Valleys.
Taylor, who has been picked ahead of former Swansea teammate Ben Davies in Wales’ past couple of Euro 2016 qualifiers and is expected to start for his country in Israel, has been in from the off for all-but one of his side’s 30 Premier League matches so far in 2014/15, with Garry Monk’s charges currently sitting pretty in eighth place.
The rookie gaffer and Swans chairman Huw Jenkins are said to be working on a new deal for the 26-year-old, but with six clubs reportedly interested in Taylor, whose current contract will expire at the end of next season, the pair may have to start digging behind the sofa for every last quid.
Crystal Palace made a bid for Taylor in January, according to the BBC, who say West Brom were also keen during the last transfer window.
Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle are all now thought to be monitoring the situation in south Wales closely, as well as Real Sociedad, managed by former Man Utd and Everton manager David Moyes, who allegedly tried to sign Taylor when he was at Goodison Park.
There have also been whispers that Monk will attempt to land left-back Martin Olsson from Norwich this summer, after missing out on the Sweden international when the Canaries were relegated last term, so it seems a contingency is being considered if Taylor can’t be tied down.
Wales are 13/5 to win in Haifa, which looks a decent bet considering Coleman’s lot have taken four points on the road already in Group B, having beaten Andorra and drawn in Belgium.
New bwin.com punters can place the £30 free bet they receive on sign up to back Wales and claim £78 profit if they manage a win.
Incidentally, Taylor is also 13/5 to leave Swansea by 01/09/2015, with 1/4 saying he stays.