Liverpool hit five as distracted Swansea turn their thoughts to Wembley finale
Swansea Citys Leon Britton (right) attempts to block a shot by Liverpool's Luis Suarez during the yesterday's Premier League match at Anfield.
Liverpool 5 Swansea 0:Swansea City would only have looked more in cup final mode had they played at Anfield in new suits and broken off to record a song. Liverpool capitalised ruthlessly to leave Michael Laudrup fearing the impact at Wembley on Sunday.
The rout, Liverpool’s first win since the 5-0 defeat of Norwich City on January 19th, was timed to perfection. The mitigating factor of Swansea’s weakened team before their Wembley League Cup final date with Bradford was of no concern to Rodgers.
Inspired the performance
Luis Suarez inspired the performance, aided and abetted by January recruits Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
Rodgers said: “It has been a bumpy road this week but it was important we showed mental toughness and kept a clean sheet. We have not been at our best defensively in the last four games.”
The one downside was the dislocated shoulder that is expected to end Fabio Borini’s season.
Laudrup made seven changes to the side who beat QPR in their last league outing, when they lost Chico Flores to an ankle ligament injury, and the no-risk policy meant a place on the bench for their captain, Ashley Williams, and their leading goalscorer Michu. The visitors’ threat disappeared with him. His replacement, Itay Shechter, lacked support and strength on the ball to trouble the Liverpool defence.
After an initial flurry when Jamie Carragher prevented Shechter reaching Roland Lamah’s pass to the near post and Lamah, making his first league start, had an optimistic penalty appeal against Glen Johnson rightly refused, the visitors created nothing. Liverpool peppered Michel Vorm’s goal with shots, although it was only after Kemy Agustien committed a needless foul on Suarez in the area on 34 minutes that they convinced in attack.
The midfielder challenged Suarez as the Liverpool striker retrieved a Steven Gerrard corner at the back of the area and cut to the byline.
The contest changed irrevocably. The ball was almost out of play when the Swansea midfielder tripped Suarez and, with Webb unsighted, the assistant referee Mike Mullarkey signalled for a spot-kick. Gerrard made amends for his penalty miss against West Brom last Monday by beating Vorm low to the goalkeeper’s right.
Only 20 seconds had gone in the second half when Suarez released Coutinho with a fine pass. The €10 million acquisition advanced on Garry Monk, twisted him inside and out, and shot through Vorm’s weak guard. A flowing move down the Liverpool left ended with Jose Enrique converting Sturridge’s ball across the box, Suarez scored a fine goal when he collected Gerrard’s pass, beat two defenders and found the bottom corner and Sturridge scored Liverpool’s second penalty following a deliberate handball by the Swansea substitute Wayne Routledge.
Watching Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson had seen enough and left his seat. He can only hope the rout will prey on Swansea minds on Sunday.