Five things we learned about Liverpool in their 1-0 win over Swansea

It wasn't pretty but it was the big win Liverpool needed against Swansea as they keep up the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester United in the race for the top four.

It was big win for Liverpool at the Liberty Stadium last night as they edged out Swansea City courtesy of a Jordan Henderson strike which had a huge element of luck to it.

The result keeps them two points behind Manchester United in the race for the Champions League places ahead of their meeting at Anfield on Sunday.

There was plenty to take from Liverpool's display in what was a huge game in their season with both Arsenal and Manchester United impressing at the weekend, and the need for the Reds to get a result in South Wales was huge - especially given the difficulty that some of their rivals have encountered against Garry Monk's side this season.

Here is what we may have learned as Liverpool kept themselves in the hunt:

Brendan Rodgers and his tactical flexibility:

He has received great credit for finding a system that has got Liverpool winning again, but after they found things difficult in the first half, he changed the shape of the midfield in the second half in order to get some control of the game in the middle of the park. As a result it was one of the more comfortable 45 minutes of the season as Swansea didn't have a sniff after the break, following a first half where the home side perhaps felt they should've been a goal to the good.

The role Steven Gerrard could have for the rest of the season:

Gerrard returned from a hamstring injury as a second half substitute. He was one of the calming influences on the team and ensured Liverpool retained possession well. It wasn't the barnstorming Gerrard of old but something you'd associate more with a player he played alongside earlier on in his career in Gary McAllister. He was composed, ensured things were ticking over and provided an extra body in midfield that was necessary for the Reds to win that crucial battle.

A side growing in maturity with a habit of winning:

It was quite telling when watching the second half at just how Liverpool managed the game. For a very young side they looked as though they had the experience of a side full of 30-somethings. As soon as they went 1-0 up, it wasn't a case of going gung-ho and trying to score the second, instead they put their foot on the ball and knocked it around well, and kept things tight. It was one of the things they simply couldn't do last season.

The back three can take a while to settle after time apart:

It was something we saw at Southampton last month, but when the back line gets changed around a bit, it can sometimes take a little while for them to find their feet. Mamadou Sakho returned to the starting XI after a spell out while Martin Skrtel swiftly recovered from concussion. As the game went on they got better and more composed, but they looked sloppy and disjointed as a unit.

The value of Joe Allen continues to rise: 

Allen wasn't immune to some of the sloppy antics Liverpool were getting up to in the first half but they had a lot to thank him for. A couple of good covering challenges and getting Liverpool out of danger was at the centre of the lot of his good work in the first half. The second half he appeared to get involved more in the build-up play and barely put a foot wrong in an impressive display.

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