Liverpool vs. Swansea City  5 - 0


Rodgers believes in Coutinho promise

18 February 2013 05:00

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has high hopes for Philippe Coutinho after his goalscoring performance in Sunday's win over Swansea.

Coutinho, a January signing for the Reds, netted in the 46th minute as Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners over the south Wales outfit at Anfield.

And Rodgers believes the 20-year-old attacker can get even better as he adapts to life in the Premier League.

"He's a real talented player, Coutinho. He's only 20 but he's had good experience playing at a big level," Rodgers told reporters.

"He'll take a bit of time to adapt to the speed and the tempo, coming from Inter Milan his game is at a slower tempo.

"But he's a wonderful technician and you can see with his involvement in the first goal the quality and the speed of his passing, and he's got wonderful game knowledge as well.

"I've got high hopes for him. These are the types of players we're trying to get in - the technicians that have got strong character and mentality - and I'm sure he'll progress really well."

Rodgers also underlined the importance of the win following a week in which the Reds suffered consecutive 2-0 defeats at the hands of West Bromwich Albion and Zenit St Petersburg.

"It was an important three points," he said.

"It's been a bumpy road this week in terms of the games Monday and Thursday.

"The Premier League is very important for us and we knew that we had to focus and show commitment today against a Swansea team that's been brilliant this season.

"For us it was a very important win, an outstanding performance and I think we really showed our character and mental toughness today to get a performance like that.

"Funnily enough going into the game it was (all) about keeping a clean sheet, because the last four games defensively we haven't been at our best. Overall, we're very pleased and a very good performance."

Rodgers stopped short of claiming a late push for fourth is possible, however, insisting his side must stop plotting their own downfall.

"Every time I say (fourth is possible) you guys always write and slaughter me," he added.

"I'm a manager, I'm an optimist but we're not getting carried away," he said.

"We've put in some outstanding performances this season and never always got the results. That's something we have to change for the remainder of the season and finish the season as strong as we possibly can."

Swansea coach Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, claimed his squad cannot blame the number of changes he made for their defeat.

"How do I explain it? It's a little difficult. Some could say 'you made a lot of changes', it's true. The first to blame is me, maybe, because I pick the team," he told reporters.

"(Liverpool) scored three goals in ten minutes - you cannot do that. We could have lost seven or eight nil easily if it wasn't for Michel (Vorm). That's not good enough. But we have to learn from it, we have to go on and think about the final."


Premier League: Liverpool 5 Swansea City 0

17 February 2013 18:20

Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a rampant victory over his former side as Liverpool cruised past Swansea City 5-0 in the Premier League.

The Reds ended their five-game winless run in emphatic fashion as a dominant performance moved them up to seventh in the table and also marked their first victory of the season against top-10 opposition in 15 attempts.

Skipper Steven Gerrard converted a first-half spot kick before second-half goals from Phillipe Coutinho, Jose Enrique, Luis Suarez and a Daniel Sturridge penalty rewarded the hosts for a commanding display.

Liverpool headed into proceedings making three changes from their 2-0 Europa League defeat to Zenit on Thursday. Daniel Agger replaced Martin Skrtel in defence, while Sturridge returned from injury and Coutinho was handed his full debut.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, clearly had one eye on next week's Capital One Cup final as he made seven changes, resting the likes of Michu and Ashley Williams and handing starting berths to Itay Shechter and Kyle Bartley.

The Reds oozed confidence from the off and it was Sturridge who came closest to breaking the deadlock early on as he fired a header inches over the bar before the former Chelsea man latched on to a great long ball in the Swansea area and was brought down after some twists and turns.

Referee Howard Webb waved away any penalty appeals, however, while Coutinho fired the follow-up shot just wide from close range.

But Liverpool's superiority soon paved a breakthrough as Gerrard whipped a corner in on 34 minutes and Suarez received the ball in the area only to be brought down by Kemy Agustien. Webb took a long look at his linesman, before pointing to the spot.

And it was the captain who stepped up, picking the opposite corner to the one he chose when missing last week against West Brom. Vorm went the right way, but the England midfielder dispatched his spot kick with aplomb.

Sturridge then threatened once more but was unable to add to the home side's tally as a half of sheer Liverpool dominance came to its conclusion.

It took the Reds just 16 seconds after the restart before they had their second. The visitors lost possession in the middle of the park and Suarez played a superb through ball to Coutinho, who embarked upon a fantastic run and beat Vorm from inside the area with palpable ease.

The Reds weren't done there as Sturridge and Enrique then combined to perfection, advancing into the box with a series of one-two passes before the Spaniard thumped his finish into the roof of the net.

Suarez compounded the away side's misery on 56 minutes with a fine turn and run before placing the ball in the bottom left corner.

And the rout was completed a quarter of an hour later as the hosts were awarded their second penalty of the game and Sturridge duly tucked it away for his fourth goal in five league games after Gerrard had unselfishly handed him the ball.


Skrtel excited by Sturridge return

16 February 2013 16:26

Liverpool's Martin Skrtel believes returning striker Daniel Sturridge will be key to his side's bid for victory against Swansea on Sunday.

The 23-year-old missed Monday's Premier League clash with West Brom due to a hamstring injury and was cup-tied for the trip to Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday - with both games ending in 2-0 defeats.

But after manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that the former Chelsea man will back for the visit of the Swans, Skrtel has claimed his reintroduction is a big boost.

"I think in the games Daniel has started, he has shown his skills, his quality and his strengths," the defender told the club's official website.

"He's proved he can help the team and so I hope he will be back in the side for Swansea.

"With him our attacking strength is much higher. You can see that in the games he's played so far. He links with Luis Suarez and with Steven Gerrard and he is a real danger for every defender he faces. He will help us to get the three points.

"He's a difficult player to mark, he's a top striker and its difficult to play against him in training."

Michael Laudrup's men face Bradford in the League Cup final a week after their trip to Anfield, but the Slovakia international does not think the visitors will be distracted.

"It doesn't matter if it's before or after the cup final because they have good experience in their team," he said.

"It's going to be tough and we know we have to do our best. After a few bad games, we have to show our quality and get the three points."


Reds will be riled up, says Laudrup

15 February 2013 14:51

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is expecting Liverpool to have revenge on their minds when he takes his side to Anfield on Sunday.

Following a 3-1 win in the Capital One Cup in October and a 0-0 stalemate in the Premier League a month later, the Welsh outfit are yet to taste defeat against their former manager Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool come into the game on the back of a shock 2-0 home league loss to West Brom, before a lacklustre display left their Europa League hopes in tatters after losing 2-0 to Zenit, and Laudrup is cautious of a backlash at the weekend.

"The fact that Liverpool lost to West Brom on Monday was a bad result for us because it means the Liverpool players will be even more motivated against us," Laudrup told reporters.

"Plus I do not think they have forgotten our game in the Capital One Cup earlier in the season.

"When you go to Anfield, it's one of those grounds where you can never expect to get anything - it's like Old Trafford, the Etihad, the Emirates or Stamford Bridge.

"I know we have got some good results at some of those grounds this season, but normally the home team are the big favourites.

"After beating QPR, we can go there with no pressure at all. That doesn't mean we will go there and give away the game, of course not - we always want to be competitive - but there's no pressure on us. The pressure will be on Liverpool.

"Last Saturday our players showed that they were 100 per cent focused on QPR and not the final. I hope this will be repeated on Sunday. It has to be that way because otherwise it will be a very long afternoon at Anfield."

The Swans took a short break in Dubai for a warm-weather training camp ahead of the 12 final games of the season, and Laudrup is pleased with the outcome of the trip.

He added: "The break in Dubai has been good. It's been nice to have a bit of sun on our backs and the grass pitches we have trained on are excellent. I think the players really enjoyed it and the combination of training and relaxation was good."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25
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