Rodgers facing trip down memory lane
Soccer:Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is relishing a League Cup fourth-round clash with former club Swansea — and is determined the holders will not easily relinquish their grip on the trophy. Rodgers made 11 changes for the third-round trip to West Brom last night and two goals from on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin secured a 2-1 win after Gabriel Tamas had given Albion an early lead.
The Reds manager made the switch from the Swans in the summer and was finally able to celebrate his first win in domestic football with his new club. Rodgers said: “The Swansea game will be a special occasion, very much so. It is a wonderful club, a brilliant club, and I was in no rush to leave there.
“I could only leave there to go to another special club. It will be a great night. I think in the competition you prefer home games so to play Swansea at Anfield, in front of two wonderful sets of supporters, it will be a great night.
“I said to the players afterwards that the cup is stored at Anfield and I don’t want to give it up too easy. I want us to fight even thought it is difficult because of our lack of depth in the group. It is a competition we want to do well in. Of course, we will be really stretched with the Europa League, Premier League between now and January.
“But the nature of this club is we want to win every game and, if we get a few young players out of it (the League Cup), it will really help us moving forward.”
Rodgers believes the best is still to come from Sahin, who was on the verge of joining Arsenal before moving to Anfield. He said: “Nuri is still getting up to speed. It has been difficult for him. He was out for a long time and has come here having missed a big part of pre-season.
“But every day he is getting better. He has got great football arrogance, terrific on the ball. With his first goal you see he has got good technique, he is not frightened to shoot and he can arrive in the box and get a goal as he showed with the second one.”
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, said he was delighted with his return to competitive action after a four-week layoff following his team's 2-1 victory over Newcastle United. Rooney had not played since he suffered a nasty gash on his leg in the club's first home Premier League match of the season against Fulham on August 20th.
The England striker failed to get on the scoresheet last night but his team mates comfortably eased into the next round with goals from Anderson and Tom Cleverley to set up a fourth-round clash against Chelsea.
"It's been just over four weeks since I last played and I'm delighted to be back out on the pitch playing, and it was a good run-out for me and hopefully there's a lot more games to come," Rooney told Sky Sports. “I feel good, obviously it's always difficult in your first game back after a few weeks but it's great to get the minutes under my belt and hopefully that can benefit me."
League Cup Draw
Sunderland v Middlesbrough
Swindon v Aston Villa
Wigan v Bradford
Leeds v Southampton
Norwich v Tottenham
Liverpool v Swansea
Chelsea v Man Utd
Reading v Arsenal
Ties to be played week commencing October 29th